RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Watch Eduardo da Silva as the bands play the Brazilian and Croatian national anthems before the opening match of the World Cup on Thursday in Sao Paulo.
Silva will be singing both. And he has a good reason. He was born in a rough slum outside Rio de Janeiro, but from there took a long journey that landed him in Croatia's national team and a showdown against his country of birth in the World Cup.
It's been a great trip — and a soft landing.
Silva has scored 29 international goals for Croatia. Only the country's most famous player Davor Suker, who led the country to third place in the 1998 World Cup, has scored more.
Needless to say, there is interest back home in Vila Kennedy where Silva grew up.
"Here in the family everyone is rooting for Eduardo de Silva," his mother, Joelma da Silva said. "But after the first game, everyone will cheer for Brazil."
Everyone knows it may be a difficult match for Croatia, which also faces Mexico and Cameroon in Group A. Five-time champion Brazil is the overwhelming favorite to reach the knockout stage with the other three battling for second place and a spot in the last 16.