Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho helped Brazil to a win on the opening night of the World Cup

Paulinho battles with Croatia's Sime Vrsaljko. Picture: Action Images

Paulinho battles with Croatia's Sime Vrsaljko. Picture: Action Images

First published in Sport

Spurs midfielder Paulinho was part of the Brazil side which opened the World Cup with a 3-1 win against Croatia on Thursday evening.

The 25-year-old played the first 63 minutes for the Selecao before being replaced by Lazio's Hernanes.

Hosts Brazil fell behind when Marcelo put through his own net early on but a brace from Neymar put Luiz Felipe Scolari's side in front with 19 minutes to go.

Chelsea midfielder Oscar then added a third for Brazil, who benefited from some controversial officiating at the Maracana.

On Friday, Benoit Assou-Ekotto was part of the Cameroon side beaten 1-0 by Mexico.

Group A's two other teams met on Friday afternoon and Assou-Ekotto - who spent last season on loan at Queens Park Rangers - played the full 90 minutes.

Oribe Peralta scored the decisive goal for a Mexican side which included for Spurs attacker Giovani Dos Santos. 

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