The game that kicks off the World Cup – what chance do Croatia have?

June 12th 2015 – Brazil v Croatia – 21.00 – Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo

Population: 198.7million
National anthem: Himno Nacional Brasileiro
Best World Cup finish: Winners 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002.
Premier League players: David Luiz, Ramires, Oscar (Chelsea), Paulinho, Sandro (Tottenham), Lucas (Liverpool), Fernandinho (Man City).

Population: 4.26 million
National anthem: ‘Lijepa nasa domovino’ (Our Beautiful Homeland)
Best World Cup finish: Third in 1998
Premier League players: Dejan Lovren (Southampton), Nikica Jelavic (Everton), Mladen Petric (West Ham)

Croatia were dreadful in qualifying and it was no surprise that they sacked the manager, despite scraping through in to the competition by the skin of their teeth. They scored just 12 goals in 10 games so if opening the tournament against favourites Brazil wasn’t bad enough, they will have to do so without their best player, Mario Mandžukić.

The Bayern Munich striker has scored 24 goals in all competitions for his club this season and scored 4 goals for his country when qualifying. If you were take advantage of a Brazil v Croatia Betting Offer you would stick all your dosh on the host nation.

Croatia are fortunate though as, despite being drawn in the same group as Brazil, the other two teams are Mexico and Cameroon. When you consider that Group B contains the likes of Holland and Spain, Group D has Italy, Uruguay and England, and Group G has Germany, Portugal and USA, then Group A is looking pretty good for any team that thinks they’re good enough to progress.

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