Brazil began scoring in the World Cup on the wrong foot but recovered their poise thanks to a thundering shot and a bum call.
If that’s too much drama in a sentence, consider this: the Brazilians very nearly blew themselves out of the opener that was theirs to lose and could have complicated their own quest of a sixth championship they’re fancied to win.
No thanks to Brazilian defender Marcelo’s own goal in the 11th minute, the hosts overcame Croatia, 3-1, Friday morning in Hong Kong, for the first of seven wins they need to win the title.
In the fog of a scrimmage near the goal mouth, Marcelo kicked the ball past keeper Julio Caesar into the Brazilians’ own net, giving the Croatians a shock 1-0 lead.
It took a whistling shot from local star Neymar for the Brazilians to equalize in the 29th, but they would need a controversial penalty call from the Japanese referee to move ahead.
Neymar converted the penalty for his second goal of the match and Oscar put the outcome beyond doubt in the 90th minute.
The referee’s call so incensed the Croatians they threatened to walk out of the tournament after giving him some choice words.
But the unkindest cut went to a certain Marcelo, who was pilloried by netizens on his Twitter account for nearly blowing it for Brazil.
The poor guy wasn’t that Marcelo. He just happens to have the same name.
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