What We Learned From The World Cup 2014’s Opening Game




Well it has finally arrived, the World Cup has kicked off in Brazil!

So what did we learn? 

Well the Great British public learned first off that ITV still make the worst opening sequences known to man! Seriously guys can’t we have an upbeat number that can get us ready for the most entertaining tournament in the world? (Also Scotland noticed it took you mere seconds to reference 1966)

A big plus for ITV is that they have Fabio Cannavaro as one of their pundits. He reminds me of a cheeky, yet nervous, toddler when he talks in English. The man oozes class. We also learned that Wayne Rooney is still the main English player to the rest of the world.

The opening ceremony wasn’t much to write home about. It was a bit downbeat, forced and uninspiring. I was expecting more dancing, colour and enjoyment. It was a drab affair and seems like FIFA killed a whole countries spirit. J’Lo, Pitbull and a Brazilian pop star failed to get the crowd going as their mics thankfully cut out.

Nike still make blindingly brilliant TV adverts.

When we think of David Luiz, we think fun guy! But he seems very angry during his nations national anthem.

The managers: Luiz Felipe Scolari, will forever be known as ‘Big Phil’ and dresses like he is ready to pop down to a garden centre after the match. Niko Kovac’s smart and suave ensemble was ruined by that ridiculously huge ID badge that FIFA insist everyone wears.

Now for the game and the teams.

The referee’s spunk spray will get plenty of comments, can’t believe its taken so long to get this simple idea implemented at a World Cup.


We learned early on that this solid Brazilian defence isn’t really that solid. The full-backs still get caught out by going forward one too many times. Look at Dani Alves for the opening goal, he was nowhere to be seen. David Luiz then proved he is capable of switching off for Brazil, giving Nikica Jelavic too much space in the penalty area.

The Brazilian’s need to settle, at this World Cup. They couldn’t get into their stride until their strike in the twenty-eighth minute.

Neymar is ready and willing to become the latest hero for the football loving country. He skipped past a challenge and then he struck with his gifted left foot past Croatian keeper Stipe Pletikosa. It was out of nothing and you always need players that can do that if you want to win this competition. His penalty wasn’t the best but he scored and that is all you want at then end of the day.

Fred did absolutely nothing and then felt a slight touch on his shoulder and fell in the box to win the penalty. He may not have contributed a lot for Brazil but his contribution was telling. Maybe he is the South American equivalent to Kris Boyd!

Luiz Gustavo better be ready for a long tournament. He was constantly sitting in front of his centre-backs and patrolling around them. He also then had to try in and cover either full-back when they inevitably went forward and left acres of space in behind them.

Hulk still flatters to deceive. I can’t really think of a game I have seen Hulk and thought, he played really well there. He isn’t useless but I don’t think he gives enough to be an automatic starter. Was rightly brought off after sixty-seven minutes due to the lack of ability to do anything meaningful.

We didn’t learn that Marcelo is a moany wee bugger tonight but the fact was reinforced. Too many times he was shouting and haranguing the Japanese referee demanding he show more cards.

It was interesting to see Brazil comeback from a goal down, dig deep and come away with a hard thought victory without losing their discipline.

Oscar’s final goal in injury time seemed to lift the whole of Brazil and really bring the country to life. The Brazilian’s love that Gareth Bale heart celebration eh?

Brazil were good but we found out that they are far from invincible.


Luka Modric looks very familiar with the new hair-cut. He is Darren Fletcher’s double, maybe its a big ruse just to get the Tartan Army supporting Croatia this summer.

He may be thirty-four now but Ivica Olic will give his all. He ran down that left flank continuously giving Dani Alves problems. His ball in for the Croatian goal was spot on too. He even tracks back! Like the whole team he tired towards the end of the game.

Olic’s Wolfsburg teammate Ivan Perisic worked just as hard on the opposite flank.

Croatia weren’t overawed. They started well and were usually very good at keeping the ball. When they didn’t have the ball they would become a compact unit in their own half and get a lot of players behind the ball. That said they certainly didn’t come to Brazil to park the bus.

When in possession, Modric and Ivan Rakitic looked great at times and got Croatia going. Cameroon and Mexico will have to study that and not give the midfielders too much time on the ball.

They could do with a strong defensive midfielder. They should have done better in the middle of the park for Brazil’s first goal. Boss Nico Kovac would have been braver in the challenge.

After a lull from seventy minutes, the side picked up again with five minutes to go and were unlucky not to sneak and equaliser.

Pletikosa should have done better with the Oscar goal. His feet were all in a tangle and he looked like a slowing thirty-five year old!

The Referee did seem a bit of a homer. He protected Neymar for much of the game and according to some he should have sent the Brazilian superstar off in the first half. He probably shouldn’t have given that penalty either.

Oh the game finished 3-1 to the hosts Brazil.

Finally I learned that even by the age of thirty I can still get far too excited for a World Cup! Bring on a whole month of football!

Leave a Reply