A signifcant win for Brazil

Just for about 17 minutes on Thursday night, the jitters would have developed a personality and the veins would have started to bulge.

But Brazil – who haven’t lost a football match since 2002 in their backyard – aren’t the favourites for nothing. They got back into the encounter thanks to Neymar’s brace before Oscar’s wonderful run and finish secured their win.

If one believes in trends, the team that has won the World Cup has more or less always won their first game. In all World Cups from 1982, there have only been two instances of team failing to win their first games but yet winning the tournament (Italy drew with Poland in 1982, while Spain lost to Switzerland in 2010).

Brazil themselves know a thing or two about the importance of winning the opening games – in the years that they have won the World Cup (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002), they have always won their opening match. 

While sterner tests lie ahead – most notably a round of 16 meeting with one of Chile, Netherlands or Spain – this victory is the perfect antidote to all the naysayers. 

A regulation 4-0 win wouldn’t have revealed much about their character. A come-from-behind win against Croatia, that’s a whole different ball game. 

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