- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) - Brazil will begin the World Cup with the same starting lineup that won last year’s Confederations Cup.

Led by Neymar in attack and Thiago Silva on defense, Luiz Felipe Scolari announced a starting lineup without any surprises for the team’s opener against Croatia.

Croatia is led by Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric but won’t be at full strength. Coach Niko Kovac can’t count on Bayern Munich forward Mario Mandzukic, who was red-carded in the team’s final qualifier. Just before the tournament he also lost experienced midfielder Niko Kranjcar, and defender Josip Simunic didn’t make it to the World Cup after being handed a 10-match ban by FIFA for leading fans in a pro-Nazi chant after a qualifying match.

The two Brazilian-born players in Croatia’s squad, Eduardo Silva and Sammir, will start on the bench.


Brazil: Julio Cesar, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho, Oscar, Neymar, Hulk, Fred.

Croatia: Stipe Pletikosa, Sime Vrsaljko, Darijo Srna, Dejan Lovren, Vedran Corluka, Ivan Rakitic, Nikica Jelavic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, Ivica Olic, Mateo Kovacic.

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