Modric outclasses Tottenham and Brazil's Paulinho despite Croatia defeat

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho found the World Cup opener a struggle, whilst former Tottenham favourite Luka Modric shone in defeat.

Brazil’s win to open the 2014 World Cup proved to be a game with controversy and quality in abundance, a perfect concoction to provide the millions watching with entertainment.

However, that may not have proved to be the case if you was a Spurs fan looking out for Paulinho.

The 25-year-old, who started in central midfield with Luiz Gustavo, was guilty of putting in a laboured performance before being substituted just after the hour mark in the game in favour of Hernanes.

The statistics, however, don’t show the midfielder up for the slow and jaded performance he put in on their own. However, when compared to former Spurs star Luka Modric, the difference is quite staggering.

  TeamPosmins / Touchesmins / Total Passmins / Accurate Passmins / Total Att Assistmins / Total Fwd Zone PassMins
Paulinho Brazil MF 2.10 2.86 3.32 63.00 6.30 63
Luka Modric Croatia MF 1.25 1.58 1.76 22.50 2.81 90

The Croatian midfield, not just Modric, were superb all night and showed an incredible desire that could only be matched by an inform Brazil team playing in a highly-anticipated match in front of their home fans. So, it begs the question, why didn’t Paulinho make himself more visible in the game?

He was placed in the middle of a side who had more than 60 per cent of the ball and struggled to get himself into the game. In fact, there were only three players in the Brazil starting line-up that managed less touches than the Paulinho - a poor show by all accounts.

However the worst statistic overall for Paulinho was the player made only 10 forward passes on the night. Which, given the possession dominance  exerted by Brazil, is quite telling. 

Now, all eyes will be on the Spurs man to bounce back in their next match against Mexico, which is another game that promises to be played at a similarly high pace.

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch