The FC Barcelona striker’s brilliant performance against Croatia last night will be remembered for all kinds of reasons
Neymar led Brazil’s comeback with two goals against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup. Here are 10 important facts about his outstanding debut performance in Sao Paulo:
- Neymar has now scored 33 goals for Brazil and last night’s brace takes him into the country’s all-time Top 10. Ahead of him are Pelé (77), Ronaldo (62), Romário (55), Zico (52), Bebeto (39) and Rivaldo (34).
- He has surpassed Ronaldo by becoming the youngest player to reach 50 appearances for Brazil.
- Aged 22 years, he is the youngest player to find the net twice in a World Cup game since Valeriy Porkujan of the USSR in 1966.
- Neymar became the ninth player to score a brace in the opening game of the World Cup.
- He is the seventh player to score twice in Brazil’s first game at a World Cup, and the first since 1990.
- His second goal was only the third penalty to be scored in the inaugural match of a World Cup Finals.
- He was voted man of the match by users of the FIFA website.
- He is the second Barça player to score in the opening match. Rafa Márquez was the first, for Mexico in 2010.
- Neymar also got the first booking of the finals, for striking Modric while challenging for the ball.
- He was substituted after 88 minutes by Ramires and went off to rousing applause from the home crowd.