Thursday June 12th, 2014

Brazil's immediate start to the World Cup did not go as anybody expected or as the host nation would have hoped. Then prodigal son Neymar stepped in to provide a massive sigh of relief. 

Neymar scored the first World Cup goal of his career, canceling out an unnerving Marcelo own goal with a 29th-minute strike from long range. It didn't appear that Neymar connected with full power or control, but the placement of his shot -- low and to the right corner -- turned out to be perfect and in a place that Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa could not get to, sparking raucous celebrations in Sao Paulo and beyond. He then added a 71st-minute penalty kick to provide Brazil with its first lead of the tournament, albeit in controversial fashion after Fred appeared to make the most of contact from Dejan Lovren.

Neymar, who won the Golden Ball at last summer's FIFA Confederations Cup, is under pressure to deliver Brazil's sixth World Cup trophy as a 22-year-old, and his individual tournament is off to a strong start. 

Watch Marcelo's own goal and Neymar's response below:

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