FIFA World Cup 2014, Brazil vs Croatia: Key players to watch

Luka Modric and Neymar (AFP)

Brazil take on first challengers Croatia for the FIFA World Cup 2014 opener at the Arena Corinthians. All eyes are on Brazil are they are expected to win the tournament, while the Croatian camp just cannot catch a break. Croatia have been hit with several injuries and stand a difficult task against the hosts. Let’s look at the key players that will be involved in the Brazil vs Croatia match:

STAR PLAYERS

Neymar (Brazil)

At only 22 years of age, Neymar is already hailed as one of the best Brazilian football players to have emerged in the last decade. He mesmerizes all with his dazzling skills and is the main player for the Brazilians. If the national side are serious about bagging the World Cup for a record sixth time, it all hangs on the Barcelona forward.

Luka Modric (Croatia)

Having enjoyed a great season with Real Madrid, Luka Modric is to Croatia what Neymar is to Brazil. Modric is the most famous player in the squad, but that’s not only cause he wears the Madrid jersey. It’s because of the slick style of play he boasts. The little Croat skills on the ball are superb and he looks for a great pass to play to any forward that plays with.

PLAYERS TO WATCH IN THE BRAZIL SQUAD

Thiago Silva: The center-back who plays for PSG is beleived to be the best defender of the present age. He is a no-nonsense defender and is great when it comes to reading the game. Silva is great with his head for both defence and attacks.

Hulk: His name brings the impression of a player with power, and that’s just what Hulk is all about. The winger who prefers to play out on the right flank boasts tremendous pace and a mean shot. Don’t forget to check out his free kicks too.

Dani Alves: The right-back who plays for Barcelona is probably the best in the world when it comes to the position. The Brazilian never stops running up for attacks and also manages to get back when needed for defence. He provides great crosses for forwards as well as coming up with a goal from a distance.

PLAYERS TO WATCH IN THE CROATIA SQUAD

Ivan Rakitic: Having led Sevilla to a Europa League title this season, Rakitic enjoyed a fantastic season where he scored 12 goals and claimed 10 assists in the La Liga. Rakitic can play in center-midfield as well as behind the striker and is a great short-intermediate passer. He possesses great skill on the ball and is a creative outlet for any side he plays for. He takes great free kicks too.

Mateo Kovacic: The young midfielder adds to Croatia’s masterful midfield group. With Rakitic and Modric already important with the ball at their feet, young Kovacic has more of a complete game. He is known to power through the center bullishly while retaining the ball possession.

Ivica Olic: With Mario Mandzukic out with suspension, the goalscoring opportunities will fall to Olic and Jelavic. Olic who enjoyed a good season with Wolfsburg is full of energy and constantly frustrates the defence he plays against.

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