There were no broadcast breakdowns or stadium collapses or other disasters (aside from the refereeing); congrats to the Brazilians for getting this thing launched smoothly (aside from the football).

Up here in Canada, it seems all the games are on CBC, who have the usual competent laid-back Brit announcers. The guys who call the Whitecaps games on the Vancouver radio station are way more fun. Not sure what CBC will do when there are parallel matches.

Brazil 3 Croatia 1 · There were only two clean goals. I include Croatia’s first, called an own-goal, but that was a lethal cross from Olic; if Marcelo hadn’t touched it there was another red-checked shirt right behind him facing an open goalmouth. And it’s hard to see how he could have sent it anywhere but where he did. Neymar’s equalizer was maybe a little lucky but still, that was a remarkable drive forward through the defense.

As to that penalty… just inexcusable. Anyone who remembers England’s disallowed goal against Germany last World Cup, or the shocking penalty calls against the Canadian women in the 2012 Olympics, will be unsurprised at yet another instance of lame top-level officiating. FIFA backed down and enlisted technology to help call goals; it’s about time to do the same for penalties. There are rarely more than one or two a game, so the delay would be perfectly acceptable. Yeah, Fred dived, but that’s the kind of despicable behavior we expect from big-name football players — but just the men; if you want to watch top-level games without any diving, check out the women’s game.

There was also a handball call against the Croatians just before the penalty which the relay showed to have been a faceball, no hand near it. And Oscar’s late goal was beautiful, but not clean; it involved the uncalled pulverizing of a Croatian defender on the way through.

Who at FIFA do we have to bribe so they don’t bring Nishimura back?

Brazil was after all the better team; both Neymar and Oscar are terrifying when running at defenders. But neither its midfield nor back line looked like the kind that win World Cups.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: walter (Jun 12 2014, at 16:50)

well said. i'll be watching the game again this evening.


From: Steve (Jun 12 2014, at 18:27)

Great points.


From: LeoTea (Jun 13 2014, at 02:06)

No mention of Neymar trying to break Modric's jaw before the first goal? Or the disallowed equaliser for Croatia when Cesar fell over crying like a two-year-old?

Brazil look like they are there for the taking - I don't see them winning the tournament after that performance, unless Big Phil gives them an extra sitter in midfield.


From: Matěj Cepl (Jun 13 2014, at 08:27)

“Who at FIFA do we have to bribe …”

You mean, whom at FIFA we should bribe more than they are already bribed? That’s a tough call, because to overpay their current bribes is tough. (and John Oliver is an English guy, so he knows what football is about)


From: Dani Estrela (Jun 13 2014, at 11:23)

Croatia's firts could've been prevetend if David Luiz closed his legs. Goal of pure luck, despite a fast counterattack.

Neymar's elbow/arm slam to Croatia's face was more of inoportune try to win the ball dispute. Did not see an intention to hurt Modric.

Foul on Julio Cesar was clear. The croatian player leaped straight into the goalie. Just checked the replays.


From: Martin Barry (Jun 16 2014, at 04:34)

@Dani, you should watch it again in slow motion. Neymar is actually watching Modric, and not the ball, right up to the last split second when he switches his gaze to ball at the same time he raises his elbow to connect with Modric's chin.


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