Brazil 3 Croatia 1: Scolari salutes ‘fantastic’ Oscar

Brazil's Oscar celebrates his second half goal against Croatia.
Brazil's Oscar celebrates his second half goal against Croatia.
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Neymar stole the show for Brazil in their opening World Cup triumph over Croatia, but coach Luiz Felipe Scolari hailed the impact of Chelsea midfielder Oscar.

Brazil won 3-1 with Neymar scoring twice - the 22-year-old’s 32nd and 33rd goals for his country in only 50 caps - with Oscar getting the third after Croatia had taken an early lead through Marcelo’s own goal.

There have been doubts expressed in the Brazilian media about 22-year-old Oscar’s form, but Scolari insisted he had never lost faith.

Scolari, who guided Brazil to be world champions in 2002 and has never lost a World Cup match with the country, said: “Neymar got man of the match, but if there was a second award it should go to Oscar.

“Our statistics after the game shows he was the one who made the most tackles, and made lots of dribbles and crosses - he was our most creative player on the right.

“He was fantastic and that’s the kind of player he is and I have always believed in him.

“Any doubts came from your side [the media]. His level may have dropped but I never lost belief in him.”

Neymar admitted he had had a dream start to the World Cup.

The Barcelona forward said: “I think I am happier than I ever dreamt, to start with a victory in the World Cup such as this.

“The whole team deserves praise for being able to keep calm and turn things around.”

Neymar’s second goal came from the spot after a controversial penalty described by Croatia’s coach Niko Kovac as “ridiculous”, who added that none of the billions watching on TV saw it as a foul.

However, Scolari said: “Millions didn’t see the penalty? The referee did and he said it was a penalty and they are the ones that must decide.

“We also think it was a penalty. I have seen it 10 times and I think it is a penalty.”

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