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Brazil VS Croatia

Size: 8,511,965 sq km VS 56,542 sq km

Population: 188,078,227 VS 4,494,749

GDP Per Capita, PPP:
$8,400 (2005 est.) VS $11,600 (2005 est.)

Climate: mostly tropical, but temperate in south VS Mediterranean and continental; continental climate predominant with hot summers and cold winters; mild winters, dry summers along coast

Resources: bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber VS oil, some coal, bauxite, low-grade iron ore, calcium, gypsum, natural asphalt, silica, mica, clays, salt, hydropower

Environmental Issues: deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; there is a lucrative illegal wildlife trade; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities; wetland degradation; severe oil spills VS air pollution (from metallurgical plants) and resulting acid rain is damaging the forests; coastal pollution from industrial and domestic waste; landmine removal and reconstruction of infrastructure consequent to 1992-95 civil strife

Ethnic Makeup: white 53.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 38.5%, black 6.2%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 0.9%, unspecified 0.7% (2000 census) VS Croat 89.6%, Serb 4.5%, other 5.9% (including Bosniak, Hungarian, Slovene, Czech, and Roma) (2001 census)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate: 0.7% VS less than 0.1%

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS: 660,000 VS 200

International Disputes: unruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations; uncontested dispute with Uruguay over certain islands in the Quarai/Cuareim and Invernada boundary streams and the resulting tripoint with Argentina; in 2004 Brazil submitted its claims to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to extend its maritime continental margin VS discussions continue with Bosnia and Herzegovina over several small disputed sections of the boundary related to maritime access that hinders ratification of the 1999 border agreement; the Croatia-Slovenia land and maritime boundary agreement, which would have ceded most of Pirin Bay and maritime access to Slovenia and several villages to Croatia, remains un-ratified and in dispute; as a European Union peripheral state, neighboring Slovenia must conform to the strict Schengen border rules to curb illegal migration and commerce through southeastern Europe while encouraging close cross-border ties with Croatia

Airports: 4,223 (2005) VS 68 (2005)

Heliports: 417 (2005) VS 1 (2005)
Overview Brazil:

Brazil is the only country to have qualified for every World Cup. They are taking part for the 18th time. They have lifted the cup a record five times, in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002.

Brazil have won their last seven World Cup matches, all in 2002. If they beat Croatia, they will improve the record for most consecutive wins in the finals. That record was set by Italy between 1934 and 1950 and equalled by Brazil in the 2002 World Cup final. Brazil have kept a clean sheet in their last two World Cup matches, and have won their last six opening fixtures at World Cups.

Overview Croatia:

Croatia have qualified for the third time. In 1998 they finished third on their debut, in 2002 they failed to negotiate the group phase.

Croatia have not suffered a defeat in their last 10 competitive matches, and have not been beaten since Euro 2004 where they lost their final group match against England (2-4).

Player facts : Brazil

Ronaldo, the 2002 top scorer with eight goals, needs two more goals to equal Gerd Muller's leading World Cup total of 14. He's currently tied in third place with Pele. Both players needed 14 matches to reach that total. Ronaldo scored 10 goals in 15 qualifying matches to become the CONMEBOL section top scorer.

Over the years, nine Brazilians have been red carded at the World Cup, a record they share with Argentina. Ronaldinho was their last player to be shown a red card during a World Cup match. He received his marching orders against England in 2002.

Player facts : Croatia

Goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa can play his 50th international match for Croatia.

AC Milan defender Dario Simic returns to the World Cup for the third time following appearances in 1998 and 2002. Forward Ivica Olic is the only player in Croatia's squad who has previously scored at a World Cup. He scored once against Italy in 2002. Brothers Niko and Robert Kovac also played together in the 2002 finals.

Miscellaneous Info

Brazil will try to repeat their feat of 1962 when they successfully defended their World Cup title. Italy (1938) is the only other country to have retained the accolade of world champions.


At 8:53 PM, Blogger joško said...

If Croatia wins tomorrow (game starts 3PM EST), I will do a jig.

At 8:58 PM, Blogger joško said...

Croatia coach Zlatko Kranjcar says his side will not roll over against Brazil in their Group F opener on Tuesday.

Defending champions Brazil are the bookmakers' favourites to win the tournament, but Kranjcar said his side could spring a surprise result.

"We aren't just looking to counter-attack, we always want to play our own game," said Kranjcar.

"We're not waving the white flag. As we saw on Saturday with Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden, there can be surprises."

Croatia have only ever met Brazil once before, drawing 1-1 in a friendly last year, and some of their players admitted they would settle for a repeat of that result in Berlin.

"99% of the world is saying Brazil are favourites. A draw would be a success and it would be a sensation if we won," said midfielder Igor Tudor

"We are favourites to be second in the group. We don't hide that."

Tudor's team-mate Niko Kranjcar added: "Every team wants to avoid losing to Brazil.

"It is a big result if that happens."

At 2:08 AM, Blogger joško said...

This is from the official FIFA site. I feel like they're trying to make a parity between obviously mismatched teams, probably to build some extra tension:

In a break with FIFA World Cup tradition, the defending champions will not take part in the opening fixture at this year's tournament. That honour falls to hosts Germany, who get the ball rolling with their showcase match against Costa Rica on 9 June. For their part, holders Brazil open their account on 13 June in Berlin, where they face potentially their toughest Group F opponents, Croatia.

Colours for the game
Brazil: yellow shirt, blue shorts, blue socks
Croatia: red and white shirt, white shorts, white socks

The players
While Brazil boast a squad full of big-name stars, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira will be only too aware that opening matches tend to be problematic. Nerves will obviously play their part, but Parreira knows his side's task has been made harder by the quality of their first opponents. Croatia are currently blessed with a good mix of youth and experience, and are equally adept in both attack and defence. Igor Tudor is their defensive rock, and Dado Prso will be relied upon for goals. Meanwhile, the Kovac brothers (Robert and Niko) and right-sided midfielder Darijo Srna add further quality to the team.

How they qualified
If Brazil faced few problems in topping the South American qualifying table, then Croatia can also draw comfort from their own efforts at ensuring a trouble-free passage to the finals. They finished Group 8 of the European Zone in first place, relegating an excellent Sweden team to the play-offs in the process.

Past meetings
Brazil and Croatia have met just once since Croatia gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. The clash came only recently as both teams played out a 1-1 draw in Split in August last year. However, Brazil and Yugoslavia have a longstanding FIFA World Cup rivalry dating back to the inaugural tournament hosted by Uruguay in 1930. Brazil lost 2-1 to their Yugoslavian opponents on that occasion but were able to get their revenge 20 years later on home turf courtesy of a 2-0 win. The teams met again in Switzerland in 1954 and in West Germany in 1974. Both matches were drawn, highlighting the equilibrium between the two teams, and perhaps giving us an insight into their forthcoming encounter.

Tournament history
Although only a young footballing nation - the Croatian Football Federation joined FIFA in 1992 - the Croats can already consider themselves as FIFA World Cup veterans. This summer will see them make their third consecutive finals appearance. Making their debut in 1998, Croatia enjoyed unprecedented success before crashing out to eventual champions and hosts France in the semi-finals. However, they recorded a shock 3-0 win over Germany in the previous round and finished the tournament in third place, after inflicting a 2-1 defeat on the Netherlands. Star striker Davor Suker scooped the adidas Golden Shoe award with six goals to his name. Croatia were unable to reproduce their fine form in 2002 though, failing to advance from their group.

Brazil's incredible FIFA World Cup history is well documented. The Seleção have played in every single tournament and have been triumphant a record five times: in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. They have also finished as runners-up twice: on home soil in 1950, and in France in 1998.

Key contest
The match-up between Roberto Carlos and Srna should make interesting viewing. Brazil's veteran left-back, perhaps better known for his attacking instincts and thunderous left-foot shot, is a constant menace for opposition defences. Croatia's main attacking threat, on the other hand, could come from their young right winger Srna. The fleet-footed wide man has a keen eye for goal, having scored five of Croatia's 21 goals in their qualifying campaign.

The coaches
Despite having masterminded Brazil's FIFA World Cup victory in 1994, Parreira previously had to endure criticism over his defensive tactics. However, his 2006 Brazil model is anything but defensive, with the veteran coach hoping to build the side's success around the attacking quartet of Kaka, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Adriano.

Since Croatia's golden generation departed from the international scene, coach Zlatko Kranjcar has been forced to modify Croatia's style of play. The team has now adopted a 3-4-1-2 formation, with three men in central defence, two defensive midfielders supported by two attacking wingers, and a traditional playmaker (Kranjcar's son Niko) operating in the hole behind the front pair.

Meanwhile, to up the ante, maybe I'll bic a mohawk if Croatia wins this game.

At 5:56 PM, Blogger joško said...

Okay, a miracle didn't happen (1:0) and I didn't bic my hair, but Croatia played pretty well. I'm confident they can advance out of their group.


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