In twenty seconds, Rakitić, Olić, Jelavić, and Marcelo put Brazil on edge in the first game of the 2014 World Cup.
Every World Cup has its fair share of drama leading up to the first kick and The 2014 World Cup in Brazil was no exception. Soccer fans around the world wondered if the new stadiums would be completed on time. Players had their concerns about some of the pitches. And of course, FIFA officials and world leaders worried if the World Cup would spark promised economic change. It’s clear, there’s a lot of pressure put on a nation when hosting the World Cup and Brazil certainly felt that.
The easiest way for Brazil to lighten the load was to turn to the root of it all, soccer. If Brazil’s national team performed well, everything would come together. If they could win it all, who cares? Think of the story! Imagine the headlines, “Brazil topples the world at home! Record six World Cups!” All else could fail if the team won. So for that reason, there was also a lot of pressure on the Brazilian national team.
With all the excitement, the first game came soon enough. June 12th, 2014. Players trot out. Brazilian fans are heard. Commentators adjust their headsets. National anthems are played. It’s 5:00 PM local time. It’s game time. Brazil vs. Croatia.
The first ten minutes didn’t really matter all that much. I thought of it as a time to appreciate. The world cup was back. All of the countries that made it, they had a glimmer of hope and that’s special. Anyways, the ball stayed mostly around midfield. Brazil possessed, looking for openings, but never found any promising ones. Croatia had a look at a counterattack, but it fell apart. This all changed in the next twenty seconds.
10:05: Ivan Rakitić of Croatia possesses the ball near the left corner of his box. He looks up field, taking the ball to Brazil’s half.
10:08: Rakitić passes down the left wing to a sprinting Ivica Olić. Brazil’s midfield is out of place.
10:10: Olić possesses the ball mid-stride. He has acres of space. He runs down the sideline towards the edge of Brazil’s box.
10:14: It’s five on four. Olić strikes a dribbler across the box passing two Brazilian defenders.
10:15: Nikica Jelavić clips the ball, just avoiding a whiff.
10:16: Marcelo taps the ball into an open net. It’s a goal. The first goal of the 2014 World Cup!
Marcelo is on Brazil.
10:19: I think to myself: Marcelo better sleep with one eye open. Brazil can’t lose. How could they lose? Croatia is a respectable team, but they are no Brazil! The nation and their plan, it all rides on winning. This was Brazil’s year and Croatia could park the bus and throw a wrench in everything.
That’s why you play the remaining eighty minutes. Neymar saved Brazil in the 29th minute. He saved Marcelo in the 71st minute. And in stoppage time, Oscar erased any deep reporting of an iffy start. Brazil won 3-1.
Written by Michael Olson.
Gibson, Owen. “World Cup 2014: Brazil Still Facing Issues with 100 Days to Go.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 3 Mar. 2014, www.theguardian.com/football/2014/mar/04/world-cup-2014-brazil-stadiums.
FIFA.com. “2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ – Matches – Brazil-Croatia.” FIFA.com, 12 June 2014, www.fifa.com/worldcup/matches/round=255931/match=300186456/match-report.html.
“Marcelo own goal | Brazil 0-1 Croatia | World Cup 2014.” Vimeo, 1 Feb. 2018, vimeo.com/100965543.