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Brazil, Croatia 1-1 at half-time

Sao Paulo: Neymar saved Brazil the blushes in the first half of the opener against Croatia, as he drew level with a blinder of a left footer from about 25 yards. The teams were tied 1-1 at half-time.

Neymar was set up perfectly by Oscar and he made no mistake, leaving the Croatian defence stranded. The ball ricochetted off the post, and rolled in past the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa.

This was Neymar’s fifth goal in his last six matches for Brazil.

Earlier, the packed Arena Corinthians was stunned as Marcelo became enemy No. 1 in Brazil, handing Croatia the lead in the 11th minute, via an own goal.

Ivica Olic advanced down the left, and put a teasing cross to Nikica Jelavic. With the Brazilian defenders unable to clear the ball, Jelavic tried a shot which hit Marcelo on the ankle and went in.

Neymar was the first player to be booked in the 2014 Cup, when he was shown the yellow card in the 27th minute.

Brazil went in with the same line-up that defeated Spain in the 2013 Confederations Cup final.

Roared on by a fanatical home support, Brazil gradually exerted control in the opener.