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World Cup Today: Getting started with Brazil and Croatia

Brazil Soccer WCup

A youth plays soccer on a street decorated with World Cup related murals in Mangaratiba, Brazil, Thursday, June 12, 2014. The World Cup soccer tournament starts today. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

AP

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.

MATCH 1: BRAZIL VS. CROATIA
Location: Itaquerão Stadium, São Paulo
Time: 4pm ET
SOCCERLY PREVIEW | SOCCERLY MATCHCENTER

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)

RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly

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