Brazil 3 Croatia 1: Neymar revels in 'dream' start for Brazil after inspiring comeback victory

Forward scored twice in a controversial performance that saw him booked for elbowing Luka Modric and converting a penalty given for what appeared to be a dive from Fred

Neymar's remarkable international achievements reached new heights as Brazil's superstar played a starring role in the World Cup hosts' 3-1 win over Croatia in the opening game of the tournament.

The 22-year-old Barcelona forward scored twice - he now has 33 goals for his country in only 50 caps - with Oscar getting the third after Croatia had taken an early lead through Marcelo's own goal.

Neymar admitted he had had a dream start to the World Cup.

He said: "I think I am happier than I ever dreamt, to start with a victory in the World Cup such as this.

"The whole team deserves praise for being able to keep calm and turn things around."

 

Neymar may have stolen the show, but coach Luiz Felipe Scolari hailed the impact of Chelsea midfielder Oscar.

There have been doubts expressed in the Brazilian media about 22-year-old Oscar's form, but Scolari insisted he had never lost faith.

Scolari, who guided Brazil to be world champions in 2002 and has never lost a World Cup match with the country, said: "Neymar got man of the match, but if there was a second award it should go to Oscar.

"Our statistics after the game shows he was the one who made the most tackles, and made lots of dribbles and crosses - he was our most creative player on the right.

"He was fantastic and that's the kind of player he is and I have always believed in him.

"Any doubts came from your side [the media]. His level may have dropped but I never lost belief in him."

Read more: Brazil 3 Croatia 1 match report
Referee plays his part in controversial Brazil win
Neymar is Brazilian charged with replicating greats

Neymar's second goal came from a controversial penalty, Japanese official Yuichi Nishimura pointing to the spot after Brazil striker Fred went down despite being barely touched by Southampton centre-back Dejan Lovren,

The decision was described as "ridiculous" by Croatia coach Niko Kovac, who added that none of the billions watching on TV saw it as a foul.

However, Scolari said: "Millions didn't see the penalty? The referee did and he said it was a penalty and they are the ones that must decide.

"We also think it was a penalty. I have seen it 10 times and I think it is a penalty."

Kovac warned that the World Cup will turn into "a circus" if referees do not improve.

"I don't think anybody, anywhere in the stadium saw this as a penalty," he said. "If you continue like this you will have 100 penalties. I think 2.5billion people watching on TV saw this was not a penalty.

"This was ridiculous and if we continue in this way we will have a circus.

"Fred is an 85kg man and I don't believe he can be brought to the ground in such a manner.

"I cannot blame Fred at all - everyone tries it on, Like it or not, this is part and parcel of football. What I want is for referees to stick to the laws of the game and apply them equally to both teams."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital