World Cup Open Thread: Day 1

Buda Mendes

Brazil faces off against Croatia today in the opening match of the World Cup.

Group A: Brazil vs. Croatia

Time: 4 p.m. ET

Venue: Arena Corinthians, São Paulo, Brazil

TV: ESPN, Ian Darke and Steve McManaman announcing

Online: ESPN3

The FIFA World Cup has returned. For soccer fans this is one of the most exciting events of the decade. This year, 32 teams meet in São Paulo, Brazil, to determine who will wear the crown for the next four years.

The opening ceremony begins today at 2 p.m., and will involve a concert featuring Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, and Claudia Leitte. I'll let you insert your own joke there. The ceremonies will be streamed live on ESPN3.

Team USA is in Group G with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana. Their first match will be Monday, June 16, at 6 p.m., against the latter. Today, Group A starts the action with Croatia taking on Brazil on their home turf.

Host Brazil enters the event as favorites to win it all, but Croatia could present a challenge in their opening match. Action begins at 4 p.m. ET, and you can discuss all the action with your fellow Tigers fans right here.

Check out all of SB Nation's World Cup coverage here.

Team Brazil preview

Last time the World Cup final was held in Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã, Brazil only needed a draw against Uruguay to win their first title. It was a foregone conclusion, it was a done deal, it was impossible that they might lose ... and they lost. This is their chance, 64 long years of hurt later, to avenge the Maracanazo. No pressure, lads.

Team Croatia preview

Talent is never a problem, but confidence and coherence have at times been entirely lacking. Eliminated in the group stage in 2002 and 2006, they failed to qualify for South Africa in 2010 and nearly missed out on this edition. Which would have been a crying shame, for Croatia at a major finals guarantees three things: excellent traveling support, a minimum one or two of the most eye-pleasing players in the world and magnificent shirts. Those checks. Oh, those checks.

A Brazil-Croatia primer for new fans Callum Hamilton

Croatia could prove a stubborn opponent for Brazil Jack Sargeant

How Brazil built the world's best team Kevin McCauley

A World Cup beginner's guide Ryan Rosenblatt

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