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MLS and players reach deal -3/5/2015, 10:58 AM

KU's Ellis out vs. OU -3/5/2015, 10:58 AM

Kacperska ready to step up -3/5/2015, 10:58 AM

Gregorian: Royals' bats come alive in exhibition -3/5/2015, 10:57 AM

Wichita State's Wessel, Carter chosen for MVC's Most-Improved Team -3/5/2015, 10:57 AM

TV analyst Mark Adams loves the MVC -3/5/2015, 10:57 AM

Bills get their workhorse back in LeSean McCoy -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Perry Ellis will miss regular season finale -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Kansas rallies, wins Big 12 outright -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Wildcats have shot at tourney? -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Lehman, Hobson collect MIAA honors -3/4/2015, 1:44 PM

Two headed to nationals for Tiger track -3/4/2015, 11:51 AM

Tiger softball earns Tuesday sweep -3/3/2015, 7:45 PM

Season ends for FHSU men -3/3/2015, 10:20 AM

Claflin great Jackie Stiles inducted into NFHS Hall of Fame -3/3/2015, 10:19 AM

KU's Big 12 streak one for the ages -3/3/2015, 10:10 AM

FHSU's Keehn wins second MIAA title in track -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Wessel continues to spark Shockers -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Ronda Rousey's fast work, like at UFC 184, a big draw -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Minnie Minoso's love of baseball never waned -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

FHSU wrestling sending four to nationals -3/2/2015, 10:28 AM

Kansas State rallies late to put away Iowa State -3/1/2015, 9:33 AM

No. 8 Kansas holds on to defeat Texas, 69-64 -3/1/2015, 9:31 AM

Wichita State captures MVC crown by beating Northern Iowa -3/1/2015, 9:30 AM

Ellis' Younger cruises through Friday at 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Hays High's Deterding second in 4A -3/1/2015, 9:58 AM

Norton wins title with backside points -3/1/2015, 9:36 AM

Hoxie's Porsch repeats in 3-2-1A -3/1/2015, 9:43 AM

FHSU splits at Northeastern State -3/1/2015, 9:41 AM

HHS girls win on senior night -3/1/2015, 9:40 AM

HHS boys roll by Great Bend -3/1/2015, 9:39 AM

Class 3-2-1A State Wrestling finals results -2/28/2015, 9:37 AM

Tigers fall, need win to host first round -2/27/2015, 10:20 AM

Tiger women, MIAA champs, hang on -2/27/2015, 10:29 AM

Monarchs survive on senior night -2/27/2015, 12:17 PM

With KU back in control, Jayhawks prepare for 'high drama' -2/27/2015, 10:19 AM

Nino Williams takes long road to success at Kansas State -2/27/2015, 10:18 AM

Sub-state basketball pairings -2/26/2015, 10:37 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Younger part of youth movement for Railers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

Big 12 reprimands K-State after court-storming -2/26/2015, 10:53 AM

Hays High's top four headed to Salina -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- HDN area state qualifiers -2/26/2015, 10:48 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Porsch seeks a repeat in state finale -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Freshman Hutchinson leads young group of Redmen -2/26/2015, 10:49 AM

3-2-1A wrestling -- Norton steps up again to have shot at 3-2-1A state crown -2/26/2015, 10:50 AM

Shockers fight past Indiana State, set up big Saturday -2/26/2015, 10:27 AM

Rhoades back at state -- this time in 4A -2/26/2015, 10:36 AM

TMP survives Plainville -2/25/2015, 11:26 AM

K-State issues apology -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

HHS swept at Dodge -2/25/2015, 10:22 AM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/25/2015, 10:21 AM

Royals still hoping for Starling to break out -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Penske revels in Logano's victory at Daytona 500 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcat's win throws a roadblock at Jayhawks -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

KBCA prep basketball rankings, Feb. 23 -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

Wildcats get it done -2/24/2015, 10:22 AM

No-name Hahn wins Northern Trust Open -2/23/2015, 10:24 AM

FHSU softball splits on Sunday in Minnesota -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Logano wins first Daytona 500 -2/23/2015, 10:15 AM

Lutz: VanVleet has another day to remember -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

VanVleet takes Wichita State's assists title in win -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

'Cats seek confidence before game with KU -2/23/2015, 10:14 AM

Perry Ellis, No. 8 Kansas rebound from loss, beat TCU -2/22/2015, 12:47 PM

Baylor drills K-State -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

Monarch girls run away from Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:38 PM

TMP wins physical game at Stockton -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Mathews all-state for HHS -2/22/2015, 12:48 PM

HHS wins at Garden, jumps back into WAC race -2/22/2015, 12:41 PM

Wrestling roundup -- Hays High sends four to 4A state -2/22/2015, 8:19 PM

Victoria puts together complete game in win at Ness City -2/22/2015, 12:40 PM

HHS girls fall down early, lose at Garden -2/22/2015, 12:39 PM

Earnhardt Jr. makes Duel history, Patrick qualifies -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

HHS sends relays to state -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Tiger baseball takes two from UCM -2/20/2015, 10:19 AM

Gene Stephenson says he's filed his own appeal -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

TCU takes out K-State -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Bohuslavsky keys win for Tiger women -2/19/2015, 10:59 AM

Tiger men rally for MIAA win -2/19/2015, 10:13 AM

Tiger women No. 1 in Central Region -2/18/2015, 5:04 PM

Tuesday's area prep basketball boxscores -2/18/2015, 11:22 AM

Barton's Hensley named Player of the Week -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

TMP boys win, girls fall in Great Bend -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

K-State hopes to build some momentum at TCU -2/18/2015, 10:24 AM

Two in a row for HHS girls -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

Hot early, HHS boys get win at Abilene -2/18/2015, 10:47 AM

All is possible at Daytona -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

WVU tops Jayhawks in wild finish -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chiefs can find impact receiver in NFL draft -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Chargers set sights on LA, push San Diego officials for action on stadium -2/17/2015, 10:27 AM

Defense a constant for Shockers -2/17/2015, 10:26 AM

FHSU, UCM series moved to Hays -2/16/2015, 10:55 AM

KU prepares for full-court press -2/16/2015, 10:17 AM

Foster lifts Kansas State past Oklahoma on Saturday -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Three Tigers crowned MIAA champs -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Bowyer, after crash, slams qualifying format -2/16/2015, 10:16 AM

Phillipsburg girls knock off TMP at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Hays High girls snap losing skid -2/15/2015, 2:21 PM

Hays High stunned by Liberal at the buzzer -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Tiger women's streak halted at Pitt State -2/15/2015, 10:26 AM

Tiger softball 1-3 to start season -2/15/2015, 7:54 PM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
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Brazil overcomes mishap to win World Cup opener

Published on -6/13/2014, 10:15 AM

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By Kevin Baxter

McClatchy-Tribune

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Thiago Silva fought back tears as he led his Brazilian teammates out of the tunnel and onto the field Thursday to welcome a World Cup many here thought would never come.

Star striker Neymar, who, at just 22, is carrying the burden of his country's enormous expectations, nearly broke down during the national anthem, his emotions a mix of joy and terror.

But two hours later the only tears Brazilians were crying were ones of joy. After seven years of waiting and a record $11.5 billion worth of preparing, the country finally got the party started -- and it did so on its own terms, outplaying and eventually outscoring Croatia, 3-1, on a pair of goals from Neymar.

On what was declared a holiday in Brazil, fans began arriving at Arena Corinthians by the thousands more than six hours before kickoff -- though the majority of them came without tickets, just wanting to be near the first World Cup game in Brazil in 64 years.

And just as they did in last summer's Confederations Cup, Brazil's players joined the fans inside the stadium -- and out -- in finishing the national anthem a cappella after the stadium public-address system went silent.

FIFA, world soccer's governing body, allows just 90 seconds for national anthems and Brazil's is more than twice that long. But this day belonged to Brazil so the players and fans stood and sang.

The fans did not quiet -- nor did many sit down -- until Croatia took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute on an own goal.

Croatia's Ivica Olic sent a cross in from the left wing for forward Nikica Jelavic, who deflected it just enough to send the ball into the path of a surprised Brazilian defender Marcelo, who knocked it into the net.

Shortly afterward the late afternoon skies above the stadium grew dark and cloudy -- even Mother Nature, it seemed, couldn't bear to watch. But Marcelo's mistake would prove to be the only one of the day for Brazil.

Croatian striker Jelavic, something of a surprise starter, nearly doubled the lead in the 28th minute, but goalkeeper Julio Cesar made a leaping two-handed save on his header at the back post. Perhaps Brazil took that as a warning because it immediately counterattacked to tie the score.

The sequence began with Chelsea midfielder Oscar winning control just inside the Croatian end and sending the ball forward for Neymar. After a lengthy run up the middle won him space, Neymar pulled up about 25 yards from the net and sent a low left-footed shot toward the near side where it kissed the right post and slithered in.

The party had officially started as celebratory fireworks erupted outside the stadium.

And while the teams were equal on the scoreboard at the half, they weren't equal on the field with Brazil outshooting Croatia 10-3 in the first 45 minutes and building an even more commanding margin in shots on goal with seven to one for the visitors.

Only the stout play of keeper Stipe Pletikosa kept Croatia in the game.

But Neymar got the best of Pletikosa once again in the 71st minute, scoring with the other foot on a penalty kick to become the first player with two goals in his World Cup debut since Spain's David Villa in 2006.

He had some help though because Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura awarded the controversial penalty when Croatia's Dejan Lovren pulled Brazilian forward Fred down in the box.

"We better give it up now and go home. We talk about respect, Croatia didn't get any. If we continue in this way we will have a circus," Croatian coach Niko Kovac said.

"No one in the stadium or 2 billion people watching at home could think that was a penalty," he added.

"Millions didn't see a penalty?" shot back Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. "Well the referee did. I watched it 10 times. For me it was a penalty."

If so, it was a soft one because Fred went down easily. Neymar made it count, though, stutter-stepping, then pausing as he approached the ball before sending a right-footed rocket toward the left post.

Pletikosa guessed correctly and leaped that way but the shot was too strong, bouncing off his hands and into the upper corner of the netting.

Neymar, his face now a mix of happiness and relief, raced toward the endline, dropped to his knees and raised his hands while looking toward the skies, which had cleared. Pletikosa, frustrated, put both hands on the sides of his head and stomped away in the opposite direction.

Croatia had one last chance to spoil Brazil's special night, but Ivan Perisic's apparent game-tying goal in the final minutes was waved off by Nishimura, who ruled that a leaping Olic, going for a header, had fouled Cesar when the keeper went to the turf.

Moments later, with Brazil's fans now in full throat chanting, "The champion is back," Oscar helped secure the win with a goal at the end of a breakaway, chipping in a right-footed shot just inside the near post in stoppage time.

That bought fireworks again. The World Cup was finally here. And for a day at least, it had proved worth waiting for.

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