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BRAZIL v CROATIA BETTING PREVIEWBrazil have won 15 of their last 16 matches, with a 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in a friendly in Basel as the only exception. They won the COnfederations Cup 12 months ago with a 3-0 win over current World Champions Spain in the final. Three warm up matches since March have brought three wins accompanied by a clean sheet with Bafana hammered 5-0 in South Africa in March and more recently they beat Panama (4-0) before being made to work hard in their final tune up, a 1-0 victory over Serbia.
The Selecao will likely take to the field against Croatia on Thursday with the same XI which lined up in four of the five matches last summer as the host nation claimed Confederations Cup glory which means the likes of Dante, Ramires and Willian should miss out on a place in the first-team.
Croatia have undoubted talent in their ranks and will not be an easy opening assignment for Brazil. Like The Seleçao, Croatia also picked up a 1-0 win ahead of the tournament, their victory coming against fellow World Cup competitors Australia. Niko Kovac’s boys are now on a positive run of five matches.
Croatia will be without star striker Mario Mandzukic for the meeting with Brazil as he is suspended. Ivica Olic could lead the attack but much of the focus will be on creative trio Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic. Danijel Pranjic is unlikely to start after he picked up a nasty ankle injury in the final warm-up fixture against Australia and Genoa’s Sime Vrsaljko stands by to take Pranjic’s place.
The host nation has never lost their opening World Cup game, with the 20 previous hosts winning 14 and drawing six of their openers. Brazil won their one previous competitive meeting with Croatia 1-0 in the 2006 World Cup; Kaka scored the winner in Berlin that day.
BRAZIL v CROATIA PROBABLE LINEUPS
Brazil (4-3-3): Julio Cesar; Dani Alves, Marcelo, Thaigo Silva, David Luiz; Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho; Oscar, Hulk, Neymar; Fred.
Croatia (4-2-3-1): Pletikosa; Srna, Lovren, Corluka, Vrsaljko; Modric, Vukojevic; Perisic, Rakitic, Kovacic; Olic.
BRAZIL v CROATIA TEAM FORM
6 Jun 2014 Brazil 1 - 0 Serbia
3 Jun 2014 Brazil 4 - 0 Panama
5 Mar 2014 South Africa 0 - 5 Brazil
20 Nov 2013 Brazil 2 - 1 Chile
17 Nov 2013 Brazil 5 - 0 Honduras
15 Oct 2013 Brazil 2 - 0 Zambia
7 Jun 2014 Croatia 1 - 0 Australia
31 May 2014 Croatia 2 - 1 Mali
5 Mar 2014 Switzerland 2 - 2 Croatia
19 Nov 2013 Croatia 2 - 0 Iceland
15 Nov 2013 Iceland 0 - 0 Croatia
BRAZIL v CROATIA BEST ODDS
|BRAZIL|| 4.00 with||Bet £10, win £40.00|
|THE DRAW|| 5.50 with||Bet £10, win £55.00|
|CROATIA||13.00 with||Bet £10, win £130.00|
BRAZIL v CROATIA PREDICTIONS
- Brazil to win by one @ 4.00
- Fred anytime goalscorer @ 2.43
- 2:1 Correct Score @ 11.00
- Brazil to wear yellow @ 3.00
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