Brazil Locked in Stalemate With Croatia at Halftime

Ben Shpigel

Credit…Gabriel Bouys/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Croatia vs. Brazil

How to watch: 10 a.m. Eastern. Fox, Telemundo.

The group stage served as preamble for Brazil: three matches to acclimate, adapt and learn before the real World Cup began, with a 4-1 drubbing of South Korea that showcased the Seleção at their mightiest, and most fun. Richarlison and Raphinha feinting, Neymar and Vinicius Jr. flicking — it is soccer set to samba music.

But Brazil’s quarterfinal opponent relishes quashing that joy, until all that is left is pain. Croatia outlasts opponents. It breaks them down, it persists and then it prevails. Though luck certainly intervenes in the sport from time to…

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