Read a preview and watch a live stream of the opening game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup between hosts Brazil and Croatia from Sao Paulo.
Where: Arena de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo
When: 21:00 BST
Watch Live: Click here to watch online with ITV Football!
The world’s biggest festival of football gets underway in Sao Paulo as hosts and favourites Brazil take on the challenge of Croatia.
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The pressure will be heaped upon the Selecao as they are expected to kick the tournament off with a comfortable win infront of a partisan home crowd, but Croatia are likely to provide the biggest challenge in Group A.
Luiz Felipe Scolari is likely to stick with the 4-2-3-1 system that he has used to good effect in the pre-tournament friendlies, with Oscar, Neymar and Hulk operating in support of lone striker Fred.
Perhaps against traditional perceptions, however, the Brazilians’ biggest strength may lie in a solid defence, which will see centre back pairing Thiago Silva and David Luiz protected by Wolfsburg anchorman Luiz Gustavo.
The midfield battle is likely to hold the key to the match, with Croatia’s strongest area undoubtedly being their midfield. They are expected to start with a Real Madrid and Barcelona pivot of Luka Modric alongside Ivan Rakitic, with young Inter Milan player Mateo Kovacic operating in the hole behind Nikica Jelvic, with the Hull City man likely to replace the suspended Mario Mandzukic.
Despite being drawn alongside the tournament hosts, expectations remain high in Zagreb, with the Croatian public expecting their talented side to at least make it out of the group.
The biggest barrier to this may be if they do, as expected, fall to defeat against Scolari’s men, which would leave them playing catch up to the winner of Saturday’s Mexico vs. Cameroon clash.