Brazil – Croatia Preview: Soccer takes center stage in sports as World Cup begins Thursday
By Cory Pontarollo
It is that time of year again where soccer fans dig through their closets dusting off their national spirit wear. The 2014 FIFA World Cup has returned and begins this Thursday, June 12 at 4:00 p.m ET. The Brazilians are a favorite to take home the trophy in this year’s World Cup but first, they have to make it out of the group stage first. Many fans watching are familiar with the name of Neymar, Hulk, David Luiz, and Dani Alves. All of these players are stars for teams across the world and are capable of making opponents pack their bags and catch a flight back home early. In contrast to such talent, call me crazy, but, the Brazilians do not have it easy going against Croatia. Croatia has a playmaking duo in Luka Modric, the center midfielder who dazzled at Real Madrid this season, as well as Ivan “Rocket” Rakitic, the midfielder for La Liga’s Sevilla, who has the ability to rip shots from forty yards out and create danger for opponents. The striker for Croatia also led the German Soccer League, the Bundesliga, in goals this season, Mario Mandzukic. The Brazilians should not take the Croatians lightly, and the first game of the World Cup will be a great game to watch and get everyone in the mood for the greatest sporting event in the world.
Player to Watch: Luka Modric
Superb playmaker in regular season play with Real Madrid, the key for Modric is if he can transfer his game to the national team level. Granted, it is much more difficult to get assists when you are not playing alongside superstars such as Ronaldo, Bale, and Benzema, but, can Modric create opportunities for Croatia to put the ball in the back of the net
Call me crazy, but I think that Croatia is going to surprise the world this Thursday. They have the ability and are capable of capitalizing on opportunities on net. I think Brazil is going to be nervous in playing their first game, as playing in their home country may put some pressure on some players to perform and their minds will be on satisfying the country, not the game plan for completing the journey.
FINAL SCORE: Croatia 2 – Brazil 1