Jun 12, 2014, 1:03 PM EST
WORLD CUP TODAY: THURSDAY, JUNE 12
World Cup 2014 finally upon us.
There’s only one match on the docket today, but it promises to be a doozy. Mario Mandzukic-less Croatia will attempt to topple host nation and tournament favorite Brazil.
Cheater’s guide: A host nation has yet to lose a tournament opener, and Brazil will look to set a strong standard in its quest for World Cup title No. 6. Croatia will need strong midfield play from Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric, perhaps the only position where the Europeans have an advantage over Brazil.
What they’re saying:
Croatia coach Niko Kovac: “They are not going to have it easy against Croatia. We are a tricky side and I am sure that we will show that and demonstrate that tomorrow. I am sure and convinced that tomorrow this team can create a historic result.”
Premier League players:
Brazil: David Luiz (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea), Ramires (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea), Paulinho (Tottenham), Fernandinho (Manchester City)
Croatia: Dejan Lovren (Southampton), Nikica Jelavić (Hull City)
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