NEWS
Thursday June 12 2014
Line-ups: Brazil-Croatia

Neymar leads the way as hosts Brazil begin the World Cup against Croatia with Inter's Mateo Kovacic.

The first game of the 2014 tournament kicks off at 21.00 UK time (20.00 GMT) at the Arena Sao Paulo (also known as the Arena Corinthians) following the opening ceremony.

These nations have met twice before, in a 1-1 friendly draw in 2005 and with the Selecao winning 1-0 in the World Cup a year later.

Barcelona star Neymar has shaken off an ankle injury to start with Fred, Hulk and Chelsea’s Oscar.

Croatia must do without Bayern Munich hitman Mario Mandzukic, who sits out a ban, while Danijel Pranjic is injured in defence.

Hull City striker Nikica Jelavic and Ivica Olic spearhead the attack with support from Luka Modric.

Inter midfielder Kovacic pulls the strings in midfield with his 11th cap, despite only recently turning 20.

There is another Serie A player in the starting XI, as defender Sime Vrsaljko plays for Genoa.

Brazil: Julio Cesar; Dani Alves, David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Marcelo; Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho; Hulk, Oscar, Hulk, Neymar; Fred

Croatia: Pletikosa; Srna, Corluka, Lovren, Vrsaljko; Rakitic, Modric; Olic, Kovacic, Perisic; Jelavic

Ref: Nishimura (JPN)

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