Croatia vs Brazil 06/12/2014 Free FIFA World Cup Group A Soccer Pick and Preview
Brazil vs Croatia
12th June 2014 21:00(GMT)
The Line: Brazil 1/4 Draw 7/2 Croatia 9/1 See the Latest Odds
TV: rte, bbc, utv; espn; fox sports
The 2014 World Cup kick off on Thursday evening with Favourites and hosts Brazil coming face to face with Croatia. The Brazilians come into the game on a nine game winning streak and have one of the most talented squads in the tournament. Add to that the fact that they also have home advantage and its easy to see why Brazil are favourites for the tournament. With a collection of talented midfielders Oscar, Ramires, Paulinho, Fernandino and Willian and a couple of top class strikers with Neymar and Hulk goals should be on the cards for the Brazilians. As far as the long term predictions for the tournament they will rely upon Brazil's ability to stop the opposition scoring. Even the best Brazilian teams tend to have a problem defending and this team is no different. Manager Luiz Felipe Scholari has already led his team to one World Cup triumph in 2002 and is looking to become the first manager to win two world cups since Italian Vittorio Pozzo in 1934,1938. What will be intresting will be how he sets his team up and whether he will give Neymar a "free roll" just in front of the midfield and behind the center forward. Either way the hosts will be out to impress in the opening game and that surely figures for some goals.
Croatia are a good squad, tough and hard working. The star of this side is undoubtedly Real Madrid's Luka Modric who will be the key for everything Croatia do offensively. Missing Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukich in the first game due to a sending off in the qualification playoff will complicate things for Croatia but in Jelavich, Rakitic, Eduardo and Olic there is plenty of attacking talent. In particular watch out for Rakitic who was tremendous for Sevilla this season and seems to be coming of age at the right time.
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This is a talented Croatian side and the line at +1.5 looks too big to me but with two teams with plenty of attacking talent and questions defensively I would rather be on the overs. So my first pick of the tournment matches will be over 2.5 goals in the opener. Follow me on twitter@antonpippo