World Cup 2014 Matchday 1 - Preview & Open Thread

Buda Mendes

Join us as the World Cup gets underway with hosts Brazil taking on Croatia.

Opening Ceremony -

'The Opening Ceremony is a tribute to Brazil and its treasures: nature, people, football. The sense of excitement here is amazing and everyone is very motivated.'

-  Artistic Director Daphne Cornez

Sounds like we'll be in for an amazing ceremony that should get the show off with a colourful bang.

FIFA also announced that there wouldn't be any speeches to avoid the embarrassing chorus of boos that Sepp Blatter faced last year during the Confederations Cup.

Artistes Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull and Brazilian artist Claudia Leitte along with samba dancers, capoeira performers and Salvadorean drummers will perform the somewhat controversial official World Cup song, "We Are One (Ole Ola)"

Where: Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo

When: Thursday June 12th, 2:15pm EST / 7:15pm BST

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Brazil vs. Croatia -

Hosts Brazil will be looking to start the tournament off well with a win. The pressure on the home time will be incredible, it remains to be seen whether they succumb to it, or use it as motivation to succeed.

Croatia are a decent enough team in their own right, but will be faced with a cauldron of noise as they attempt to challenge the Selecao.

Neymar is the player that all of Brazil is watching, and wanting to score. Luiz Gustavo anchors the midfield and Oscar gets the responsibility for creating chances. Fred is their main striker up top, and has quite the eye for goal.

Ivan Rakitic is being chased by a bunch of Spanish sides at the moment, and will be one of the key men for the Croatians along with Real Madrid's Luka Modric. Ex-Everton man Nikica Jelavic should start upfront with Mario Mandzukic suspended.

Where: Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo

When: Thursday June 12th, 4:00pm EST / 9:00pm BST

TV info: Live Soccer TV

Click here for SB Nation Soccer's comprehensive coverage of all things World Cup related.

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