SAO PAULO (AP) — Neymar gave Brazil a winning start to its home World Cup, scoring twice to lead the host nation to a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Croatia in the opening game on Thursday.
Brazil had a disastrous start when defender Marcelo found his own net while trying to clear a low cross by Ivica Olic in the 11th minute, but Neymar then showed why the nation’s high hopes are all pinned on him.
The 22-year-old forward equalized in the 29th by clearing a defender near midfield before making a run toward the edge of the area and firing a low shot that hit the post before going in.
Brazil was then awarded a disputed penalty in the 71st minute after striker Fred went down inside the area under light contact, and Neymar scored the winner from the spot. Oscar slotted in the third in injury time.