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A Peruvian shaman performs a ritual while holding a poster of Brazil's soccer player Neymar outside the National Stadium in Lima, June 10, 2014. The shaman is blessing the 2014 World Cup host nation Brazil and key soccer players good luck. (Enrique Castro-Mendivil/REUTERS)

A Peruvian shaman performs a ritual while holding a poster of Brazil's soccer player Neymar outside the National Stadium in Lima, June 10, 2014. The shaman is blessing the 2014 World Cup host nation Brazil and key soccer players good luck.

(Enrique Castro-Mendivil/REUTERS)

World Cup daily briefing: June 12 Add to ...

Your daily World Cup tip sheet for who’s playing when, and what to watch for. We'll deliver a new briefing the evening before every game day, highlighting the can't-miss match and which players to watch.

Match of the day: Brazil vs. Croatia

The host nation takes centre stage on the opening day of the tournament, with Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men facing both the expectations of a soccer-mad nation and a balanced side from Croatia. Scolari led Brazil to a World Cup title in 2002, and is under immense pressure to do the same on home soil. All of your favourite mononymous players will be in their familiar gold and green kits, including Hulk, Fred, Jo, Oscar, Fernandinho and Marcello. Look for Toronto FC goalkeeper (briefly) Julio Cesar to be the man in net. Croatia expects to give Mexico a run for second spot in Group A, leaning on a strong midfield anchored by Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic. Bayern Munich forward Mario Mandzukic (suspended for the first game while serving a red card from qualification) will be counted on to provide the goals.

Andre Penner / AP

Player to watch: Brazil’s Neymar

The Barcelona forward was a massive star for Santos FC in his homeland before joining the Spanish giants in May of 2013. Just 22 years old, he is the poster boy for the tournament, a genius with the ball who is expected to fill the net and lead Brazil to the title.

Your World Cup

Are you watching today’s matches? We want to see which country has the most passionate fans. Tweet us a pic, or share it on Facebook or Instagram, with #globeWC.

For updates from Brazil, follow @cathalkelly, @snolen and @MisterJohnDoyle

Graphic by Trish McAlaster

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