JLo steals the show—no, not really

Claudia Leitte, left, Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull perform during the opening ceremony ahead of the Group A World Cup match between Brazil and Croatia in Sao Paulo, Thursday, June 12, 2014.
June 12, 2014, 8:33 PM

One down, lots more to go.

I think opening the FIFA World Cup with just the one game is a good idea, especially when there’s a good match on the cards, and that was the case on Thursday.

Let’s put it this way, I’d much rather watch Brazil vs. Croatia than the South Africa vs. Mexico contest that we endured through four years ago— although I’ll never forget Siphiwe Tshabalala’s beauty. By the way, yes he is still at Kaizer Chiefs; I know you were all wondering.

Each day during this World Cup, I’ll compose some thoughts for this space. Sometimes a little irreverent, I’ll try and keep them fresh, and not just the necessary yet predictable re-digested tripe that will be available on every website/blog/newspaper.


2014 FIFA World Cup: Sportsnet.ca is your home for in-depth coverage of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. TV viewers can watch all 64 games on CBC and Sportsnet from June 12 to July 13. And be sure to watch Connected every night on Sportsnet for all of the latest news and analysis.


Today then…

The opening ceremony

I love opening ceremonies simply because they allow me to dominate Twitter. For some reason Opening Ceremony criticism garners me more followers than any opinion I may espouse about the sport.

I must congratulate organizers on this occasion; the Opening Ceremony was nice and concise, which prevented us from having to agonize any longer than necessary in front of the nonsense being performed. Listen, I like culture, I even go to the theatre sometimes when my wife makes me, but I really don’t need an education as to how any nation was formed or how it’s thrived through dance.

The spinning globe thing that turned into a pretty funky Brazuka for a short moment was eye catching. As I tweeted; I was expecting to see Sepp Blatter jump out of it covered in the milky yoke of the beautiful game. Instead it was JLo… or was it? At one point there were two JLo’s prancing around with some dude in a pair of pants my Dad would be proud to wear. I must admit that my attention was at times distracted, so if there was a Pele sighting, then I apologize for missing it. So, where the hell was Pele?

The match? Outstanding

I felt a surge of pride when I saw the referee use the disappearing foam for the first time. Finally Major League Soccer has given the world something it absolutely needed, and that’s with all due respect to Landon Donovan. The foam, which MLS has perfected in recent times, was the star of the show, even overshadowing Oscar and Neymar.

Oscar ahead of Neymar

Neymar was outstanding, of course, and two goals suggest the sixty million dollars I spent on him in an auction fantasty draft will prove deft business. However, Oscar! What a performance, and no doubt the difference maker against a Croatia team that impressed.

One grotesque error by the officials added to an unfair score line for manager Nico Kovac and company. But if Mexico and Cameroon are eying Croatia as their big game, they’re probably correct—but they won’t win.

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