APTOPIX Brazil Soccer WCup Brazil Croatia

Brazil's Fred, right, falls after making contact with Croatia's Dejan Lovren during the group A World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Croatia, the opening game of the tournament, in the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, June 12, 2014. At left is Croatia's Vedran Corluka. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The opening of the World Cup was disappointing on so many levels, and for starters I’m just talking about the quality of play.

Brazil, a team that used to tease its opponents with its skill and footwork, had trouble connecting on two straight passes, and at times difficulty securing the ball. The Brazilians never appeared to settle in and despite winning 3-1 probably deserved a draw at best.

The best player on the pitch was not the famous names of Brazil that play in Europe — Neymar, Oscar, David Luis, Croatia’s Luka Modric, who helped Real Madrid win the Champions League less than a month ago.

He was Brazilian-like, if there is such a term.

But with all the games played at the World Cup and with all the tension on the host country there are going to be some duds

But what was truly disheartening was how Brazil “earned” its penalty kick for the game winner.

A flop the Spurs’ Manu Ginobli would have stood and applauded if he wasn’t Argentinean.

With his back to the goal, Fred threw himself to the ground after Croatia’s Dejan Lovren, well, touched him barely with his hand.

A penalty was called, a yellow card given to Lovren, and what was a stinker of a match already became embarrassing to the game of soccer.

It was the kind of play that gives fodder to the sports fans in the United States that have yet to catch on to soccer.

The beautiful game was anything but and so was the penalty by one of football’s biggest names, Neymar, who changed angles and then stuttered to the ball only to hit a shot from the spot that was struck at a very savable height.

If nothing else, FIFA should ban the referee from calling any more games this World Cup, although Croatia would argue that it is too late for that.

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