WORLD CUP TODAY: THURSDAY, JUNE 12
World Cup 2014 finally upon us.
There’s only one match on the docket today, but it promises to be a doozy. Mario Mandzukic-less Croatia will attempt to topple host nation and tournament favorite Brazil.
MATCH 1: BRAZIL VS. CROATIA
Location: Itaquerão Stadium, São Paulo
Time: 4pm ET
SOCCERLY PREVIEW | SOCCERLY MATCHCENTER
Cheater’s guide: A host nation has yet to lose a tournament opener, and Brazil will look to set a strong standard in its quest for World Cup title No. 6. Croatia will need strong midfield play from Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric, perhaps the only position where the Europeans have an advantage over Brazil.
What they’re saying:
Croatia coach Niko Kovac: “They are not going to have it easy against Croatia. We are a tricky side and I am sure that we will show that and demonstrate that tomorrow. I am sure and convinced that tomorrow this team can create a historic result.”
Premier League players:
Brazil: David Luiz (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea), Ramires (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea), Paulinho (Tottenham), Fernandinho (Manchester City)
Croatia: Dejan Lovren (Southampton), Nikica Jelavić (Hull City)
RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
[ RELATED: Alejandro Bedoya to miss USMNT vs. Mexico ]
Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]
Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.