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Brazil’s home World Cup campaign kicked-off last night.

They looked to erase the demons that have been present since 1950, where the Selecao lost the trophy on home soil.

Brazil must improve to compete at World CupThe uproar from the nation following that tournament signalled a chance, as they adopted the famous canary yellow and green that we see today.

The match last night resulted in exactly what Brazil, and FIFA, were hoping for. The 3-1 victory may look ideal if you just glanced at the game but those that watched the full match will identify that the hosts, by their high standards, were poor. Of course, this will mainly be overlooked as they got the result in the end but if they perform like that in the latter stages, against a top team, they will struggle.

Brazil are remembered fondly by fans worldwide due to their flair, passion and audacity to do things others wouldn’t even dream about. The flair was absent, excluding Oscar, and the only audacity we saw was a flailing arm from Neymar that collided with Luka Modric and a tumble from Fred in the box that gave the Brazilians a soft penalty to put themselves in front. The passion disappeared after the national anthem finished – which it’s worth noting sent chills down the spines of the viewers, as the emotion of the squad was clear for all to see.

Before I begin, I’ll exclude young Oscar from all this criticism, as the Chelsea midfielder shone throughout and he played like a true Brazilian. He orchestrated the midfield, threatened in attack and got on the scoresheet- thoroughly deserving his Man of the Match award.

Brazil, for the most part, were complacent. The shock from the opening goal wasn’t that Marcelo put the ball into his own net, it’s that despite what they might tell you, the hosts did not fear the Croats and did not expect to concede, let alone fall behind. Ivica Olic was a threat all game, up against the £80m-odd defensive duo of Thiago Silva and David Luiz.

Luiz, as Premier League fans would expect, was rash. His fierce approach to the national anthem continued into the game, with a meaty challenge shortly after the first whistle. In the second-half, he was present to make a superb challenge to deny a threatening attack and cleared a shot off the line, which would’ve been disallowed anyway. To be fair, Luiz did what was necessary but he still does not epitomise what Brazilian football is about and he never will.

Thiago Silva, the captain, was absent throughout. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember him doing anything of note. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a defender, it is when the opposition threaten throughout- something the Croatian side did. Julio Cesar in the net wasn’t reassuring and against top strikers, he could really struggle.

Neymar stole the limelight with a brace but it is also worth that before he scored the equaliser, he could’ve easily been sent off. In fact, I believe that if Brazil were not the host nation then he would’ve received his marching orders. If a Croatian player did the same, they would definitely be dismissed. His stats are impressive but we are yet to see the best of him in Europe.

I am a big fan of Neymar but is performance last night was largely unimpressive. It’s testament to his ability that he scored twice despite playing poorly but in truth, the Croatian goalkeeper should’ve done better for all of Brazil’s goals – further suggesting that Brazil will need to improve.

The hosts have a fairly comfortable group, which is dangerous, as they can easily get complacent. They’re expected to win every game and cruise through the group, before launching an assault on the famous trophy in the latter stages.

I can tell you now, bluntly, that if Brazil play like they did last night against the likes of Germany, Argentina, Spain or another top nation, then they will bow out of the tournament- which is bad for the nation, the World Cup and FIFA themselves due to the off-field problems that are plaguing the World Cup.

Currently the protests and riots are a backdrop to the tournament but if Brazil exit the tournament, then the off-field troubles will take centre stage.

Originally published at vivafootballcalcio.com

Post written by Josh Challies, Twitter: @Challies11
for VivaFootballCalcio, Blog: vivafootballcalcio.com, Twitter: @VivaFootCalcio

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