Neymar survived a scare to score twice as hosts Brazil came from behind to open the FIFA World Cup with a 3-1 win over Croatia in Sao Paulo.
The poster boy for the tournament was perhaps lucky to only get a yellow card after catching the throat of Luka Modric with a stray forearm midway through the first half in Thursday's Group A clash.
Brazil trailed at that point, after Marcelo's early own goal, but referee Yuichi Nishimura decided to give the 22-year-old a yellow card.
Barcelona's young star quickly atoned for his foul with a 25-yard equaliser before slotting a controversial penalty – given after Dejan Lovren was adjudged to have brought Fred down – in the 69th minute.
Lovren's contact with the striker was minimal at best and goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa got both hands to Neymar's spot-kick.
But fortune was with Brazil, as it snuck in, with the South American return of the World Cup – for the first time since 1978 – marked with a win for Luiz Felipe Scolari's men after the outstanding Oscar toe-poked in from 20 yards in second-half stoppage time.
While Brazil had the luxury of naming the same side that started last year's FIFA Confederations Cup final success over Spain, Croatia were without suspended striker Mario Mandzukic, forcing Nikica Jelavic to lead the line in his absence.
Also without injured left-back Danijel Pranjic, Croatia fired the first shot in anger as Mateo Kovacic steered an effort wide in the first minute.
Brazil's first significant foray forward saw David Luiz's tame header saved, but the pressure was on them at the other end of the pitch.
Ivica Olic's header wide served as a warning for Brazil, and it was one they did not heed, as Croatia claimed a surprise 11th-minute lead.
Olic galloped down the left wing in space before crossing for Jelavic, and although he could only scuff a left-foot shot, his effort was inadvertently steered in by Marcelo from six yards.
Brazil's initial response was frantic and anxious, but they soon found their rhythm, with Neymar's run to the byline and subsequent centre causing panic, and almost the equaliser, as Oscar saw a 20-yard left-foot effort superbly saved by Pletikosa after Croatia failed to clear their lines.
Neymar's contact with Modric then drew an angry response and Jelavic headed straight at Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
Croatia's promising start was undone in the 29th minute, though, as Oscar, who did superbly in a cluster of players to find Neymar, watched his team-mate trickle a left-foot strike past Pletikosa and in off the inside of the post from 25 yards.
A lull was inevitable following half an hour of mayhem, but it lasted longer than expected, and although Brazil shaded the early stages of the second half, the best they had to show for it was a Dani Alves free-kick that sailed over.
That was until Nishimura pointed to the spot after Oscar's ball to Fred brought about slight contact from Lovren.
Neymar's stuttering run-up was far from convincing, but his effort crept in despite Pletikosa's best efforts.
A sublime Oscar cross nearly brought about Brazil's third goal, only for Luiz to head over, while at the other end, Croatia's hard luck was summed up by Ivan Perisic's disallowed goal, ruled out because of Olic's contact with Cesar that appeared minimal.
Modric and Vedran Corluka both went close as well, as Croatia mounted a late charge, but this was Neymar - and Brazil's - night.
And Oscar's composed finish capped a stunning performance from the midfielder, as the hosts raised hopes of a sixth World Cup triumph with an early win.
|10||Neymar||27' 29' 71'|
|Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari|
for Paulinho 63'
for Hulk 68'
for Neymar 88'
|Ibrahimovic: United fans are waiting for me|
|Deulofeu shines for Everton, Cook opens Bournemouth account|
|Higuain out to emulate Del Piero|
|Kante does his talking on the pitch - Conte|
|Mourinho explains Fosu-Mensah snub|
|Klopp: No more unwanted players at Liverpool|
|Inter want more than €60m for Icardi - Thohir|
|Leicester can replace Kante - Ranieri|
|Lazio complete Wallace signing|
|Gueye set to join Everton, confirms Di Matteo|
|Tuchel: Transfer market has gone cash crazy|
|Leicester hand King new four-year deal|
|No deal done for Pogba, says Raiola|
|Rooney: Mourinho impact already huge|
|Lafferty hit with FA betting charge|
|Top-four finish never enough for Arsenal, insists Wenger|
|Partey hoping to make his mark on Atletico squad|
|Ibrahimovic in, Schweinsteiger out as United head for Galatasaray friendly|
|Vietto set for Sevilla after completing medical|
|I rejected Besiktas to fight for Barcelona spot, reveals Mathieu|
|De Laurentiis fumes at Higuain´s ´lack of respect´|
|Promising Janssen boosts Tottenham´s title hopes|
|Besiktas sign Adriano on three-year contract|
|Tottenham 0 Atletico Madrid 1: Godin grabs the winner|
|Gomis completes Marseille loan move|
|Iniesta surprised at Casillas-Del Bosque spat|
|New Juve signings do not guarantee success - Allegri|
|New Juve signings do not guarantee success - Allegri|
|Middlesbrough snap up goalkeeper Guzan|
|Guardiola still loves Ribery despite jibes|
|West Ham worry over Tore injury|
|Serie A could be another one-horse race, says Eriksson|
|Schweinsteiger retires from Germany duty|
|Iniesta welcomes Barca´s midfield competition|
|Drogba: No luck in Arsenal scoring record|
|Wenger seeks ´experienced´ striker to bolster Arsenal attack|
|Eriksson and Shanghai SIPG still fighting|
|MLS All-Stars 1 Arsenal 2: Premier League giants win late as Xhaka makes debut|
|Conte: I want aggression and intensity|
|Wimmer backs physical Janssen for Tottenham success|
|Klopp: I wouldn´t spend £100m on one player|
|Sampaoli: Taking Argentina job would be irresponsible|
|Payet absence no excuse - Noble|
|Gabriel Jesus expects Palmeiras exit amid Manchester City rumours|
|Domzale 2 West Ham 1: Crnic double stuns Bilic´s side|
|Juventus target Gabriel Barbosa says Santos exit is close|
|Leicester duo ready for ´once in a lifetime´ Champions League journey|
|Fabregas apologises for Klavan lunge|
|Reschke: Guardiola wanted Tuchel to be his successor|
|Pochettino expecting further Tottenham signings|
|Given retires from international football|
|Abdi and Pudil swap Watford for Wednesday|
|Leicester sign Chilwell to new five-year deal|
|Klopp pre-season ´most intense ever´ for Sturridge|
|Simeone backs Griezmann for Ballon d´Or final three|
|Puskas Award winner quits football - to become a gamer|
|Simeone: Champions League final felt like a death|
|Higuain: I have to prove my worth to Juventus|
|Guardiola confirms interest in Sane and Stones|
|Moreno set for Manchester City switch and Deportivo loan, claims agent|
|De Laurentiis pushed me into Juventus move - Higuain|
|Savic seeking to put injury woe behind him|
|Borussia Dortmund 1 Manchester City 1 (5-6 pens): Gunn´s shootout saves earn Guardiola first win|
|Oblak: Atleti need consistency and luck|
|Warburton rubbishes Van Persie rumours|
|Hospitalised Grujic ´can´t remember anything´, says Klopp|
|Premier League, Serie A appeal to Simeone|
|Copa Libertadores success ´a dream´ for Borja|
|Pochettino honoured by Simeone comparisons|
|Argentina have not asked for Sampaoli - Monchi|
|Ancelotti: Fitness the key for Bayern|
|Bayern win ´a small foundation´ for Montella´s Milan|
|Icardi missing due to injury - Mancini|
|Emery satisfied with warm-up win over Madrid|
|Conte quiet on Tevez, apologises for Fabregas red|
|´It was far from a friendly´ - Klopp on Chelsea defeat|
|Madrid off the pace, concedes Zidane|
|Chelsea 1 Liverpool 0: Cahill´s header seals win|
|Grujic says Chelsea´s Matic told him to sign for Liverpool|
|Bolasie wants to see Berahino and Benteke at Crystal Palace|
|Rodgers hails ´outstanding result´ as Celtic draw|
|Walcott claims level of MLS is close to Premier League|
|Bayern Munich 3 AC Milan 3 (3-5 on penalties): Bonaventura seals win|
|Atletico Nacional 1 Independiente del Valle 0 (2-1 agg): Borja secures Copa Libertadores crown|
|Icardi absent again as Inter held by Estudiantes|
|Real Madrid 1 Paris Saint-Germain 3: Zidane oversees poor pre-season start|
|Hazard vows to rediscover best Chelsea form|
|Klopp reveals why he sent Sakho back to Liverpool|
|Tevez: Conte wanted me at Chelsea|
|Sunderland hopeful Defoe will be fit for Man City opener|
|Sundowns overcome Zamalek to book semi-final spot|