World Cup Day 1 is in the books. Here's a recap of what you might have missed (or a review of what you just saw):
BRAZIL STARTS WITH THREE POINTS...
Brazil began its quest for a sixth World Cup by topping Croatia 3-1 in the competition's opening match in Sao Paulo. While the stadium where the game took place, Arena de Sao Paulo, has been ridiculed for its inability to be completed on time, Brazil had no problem finishing in an orderly manner -- although the first of its finishes happened in its own net. Marcelo's own goal stunned the pro-Brazil crowd, but Neymar scored twice and Oscar iced the game with a late toe-poke from distance. Brian Straus shares his three thoughts on the match here.
...BUT CONTROVERSY REIGNS
Brazil's performance was overshadowed by that of Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura, whose controversial penalty call on Croatia's Dejan Lovren granted Neymar -- who arguably could have been sent off for an early elbowing incident but was only given a yellow card -- with the chance to snap a 1-1 draw from the penalty spot. Jonathan Wilson chronicles the multiple refereeing decisions that went in favor of the Brazilians.
While Brazil was winning in front of its home supporters, locals took to the Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro streets to voice their displeasure at the vast sums of money spent on the World Cup while the country's infrastructure remains unstable. Similar to what occurred during last summer's FIFA Confederations Cup, riot police took to action, with tear gas and rubber bullets being used to combat the crowds. Protests were just part of an overall exhilarating and emotional day in the World Cup's host country, a picture Grant Wahl paints with his opening-day story.
Penalty or no? You be the judge:
One man's unfortunate case of mistaken identity:
To all those hurling abuse at me for scoring an own goal, please re-direct your anger to @12MarceloV. Thank you— Marcello (@Marcello) June 12, 2014
WHAT'S ON DECK
- Mexico opens its World Cup campaign against Cameroon, looking to keep pace with host Brazil in Group A (12 p.m., ESPN). El Tri's starting lineup has already been announced, and Chicharito isn't in it.
- Spain and the Netherlands open Group B play with a highly anticipated rematch of the 2010 World Cup final (3 p.m., ESPN), as the former begins its World Cup title defense.
- Chile and Australia round out the opening matches of Group B. Will Chile's star midfielder Arturo Vidal start? He's five weeks removed from knee surgery (6 p.m., ESPN2).