Brazil and Croatia get things rolling in the opener of the FIFA World Cup as the world’s biggest tournament kicks-off in the Amazon region.
Brazil and Croatia get things rolling in the opener of the FIFA World Cup as the world’s biggest tournament kicks-off in the Amazon region. The two teams have met once in the World Cup so far with the hosts Brazil winning that one. All said and done, here are the strengths and weaknesses of the two teams as they go head-to-head in an all important group match at the FIFA World Cup.
Strengths- Team spirit and camaraderie amongst the 23-man squad has been great overall. Playing on home turf can be fruitful especially the backing of the Brazilian faithful in the crowds. The presence of Neymar Jr upfront as well as the likes of Oscar, Ramires, Paulinho and company will be the key in holding Brazil’s aces. The likes of Dani Alves, David Luiz and skipper Thiago Silva have been bedrock in defence and it will be tough for opposition to unlock them.
Weakness – Lack of quality striker will hurt coach Felipe Luis Scolari. Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa chose Spain over Brazil for national representation and this might have hurt the coach. If Neymar gets injured, the back-up strikers are not worth upto the quality. Also, home pressure might add some nerves into the players.
Key player – Neymar Jr
Without a doubt, the Barcelona forward is the man to watch out for at this year’s World Cup. Neymar has a knack of scoring goals and his time at Santos Football club might come handy.
Strengths- Even if Mario Mandzukic will sit out of tonight’s game, options are available for coach Niko Kovac to replace the Bayern Munich striker upfront. UEFA Champions League medal winner Luka Modric will definitely add some creativity in the midfield, whereas the veteran Darijo Srna will be a key player in the defence.
Weakness- The Croats defence looks a bit weak. There are some overage players in the side that lack the pace and intensity to match that of the younger ones. Plus, the temperatures in Brazil might take a toll on the players (if they are unprepared).
Key player – Luka Modric
Even with the presence of Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic in the team, Croatia’s gameplay will revolve around Real Madrid ace, Luka Modric. His creativity, tenacity and passing skill will be play a crucial role in giving Croatia a mighty boost in overthrowing the Brazilians.
Goalkeepers: Jefferson, Julio Cesar, Victor
Defenders: Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Dante, Maxwell, Henrique, Maicon
Midfielders: Fernandinho, Paulinho, Oscar, Ramires, Luiz Gustavo, Hernanes, Willian, Bernard
Forwards: Hulk, Fred , Neymar, Jo
Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari
Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa, Oliver Zelenika, Danijel Subasic
Defenders: Sime Vrsaljko, Daniel Pranjic, Vedran Corluka, Dejan Lovren, Darijo Srna, Gordon Schildenfeld, Domagoj Vida
Midfielders: Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rakitic, Ognjen Vukojevic, Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Mocinic, Sammir, Mateo Kovacic
Forwards: Nikica Jelavic, Ante Rebic, Mario Mandzukic, Ivica Olic, Eduardo
Coach: Niko Kovac