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‘Had to stay calm and not make it worse...’

Sao Paulo: In the week leading up to the World Cup opener between Brazil and Croatia, the hosts often spoke about the sense of calm and composure that prevailed in the Brazil camp.

But, as soon as they stepped out on to the pitch here on Thursday, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men found their patience and resolve severely tested by a spirited Croatia side, and none of them more so than Marcelo.

Though A Selešao ultimately recovered to claim three points, the Real Madrid fullback endured a stern examination of his character in the opening stages of the game.

Marcelo’s travails came about in the 11th minute of the game, when Croatia striker Nikica Jelavic attempted to force Ivica Olic’s cross home only to deflect it into the path of the unwitting defender.

Speaking to Fifa.com, Marcelo said: “The first thing I thought was just to stay calm and not make it worse for the team. If I’d let my head drop, I might have ended up making life even more difficult for us. That was the first thing I had to make sure I didn’t do.”

“The fans were right behind me after I scored the own-goal and they were chanting my name,” he said. “My teammates also came up to me and that helped me clear my head straightaway. I got back into the game immediately.”

The setback did not stop the rest of Scolari’s men from keeping their minds on the job in hand. (Agencies)