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Croatia's Kovac: 'This was ridiculous'
by Paul Kennedy, June 12th, 2014 8:14PM

TAGS:  brazil, referees, world cup 2014


[WORLD CUP REACTION: Thursday] Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura was the target of Croatia coach Niko Kovac after Brazil's 3-1 victory in the 2014 World Cup opener aided by several controversial calls, most notably a penalty that led to the go-ahead goal.

Nishimura whistled a foul on Croatian defender Dejan Lovren for an infraction on Brazilian forward Fred though replays showed the Brazilian forward fell to the ground on his own.

"If that's how we start the World Cup, we better give it up now and go home," Kovac said. "This was ridiculous today and if we continue in this way we will have a circus. The referee was completely out of his depth."

Kovac said there was no way Lovren could have taken Fred down, given his size (185 pounds). The Croatia coach was also upset with a later call by Nishimura, who whistled a foul on Ivica Olic as he went for a cross with Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who let the ball slip through his hands.

"We talk about respect, that wasn't respect, Croatia didn't get any," he added. "If that's a penalty, we don't need to play football anymore. Let's play basketball instead. It's a shame."

Lovren said FIFA might as well give Brazil the World Cup right now.

"I want to cry," he said. "Everyone saw [the call]. It's a scandal for FIFA. They talk about respect, they have meetings before the World Cup. The FIFA people spoke with us and in the end, what happened? It would be better than they give the World Cup quickly to Brazil."

Lovren said he did not know why he received a yellow card after the penalty.

"Ask the referee," he said. "If you can because he doesn't speak English. Do you find it normal that a World Cup referee doesn't speak English."

Nishimura is an experienced World Cup referee, having worked in the middle in 2010 for the France-Uruguay game on the first day of the tournament and the Netherlands-Brazil quarterfinal.

  1. Ramon Creager
    commented on: June 12, 2014 at 10:47 p.m.
    The man was upset; but he is right. Nishimura was out of his depth. That PK was pretty blatantly a dive; Neymar is very lucky he didn't see red just before he scored (a pretty deliberate forearm to Modric's head--one can see Neymar sizing up Modric before clocking him); The foul on Julio Cesar seemed almost non-existent; too many fouls by Croatia allowed before showing yellow for persistent infringing; the list goes on. Just a very poor showing. If I were FIFA I'd assign the best refs to Brazil games, because the crowd and the situation just overawed this guy.
  1. Greg Morris
    commented on: June 13, 2014 at 10:46 a.m.
    Definitely not a PK but lets not get carried away. First, it is always clear on replay, much more difficult in real time. Neymar lucky not to see red? If that was the standard, there would be multiple reds every game. The call against Julio Cesar is one that is made almost every time.
  1. Andrea Hana
    commented on: June 13, 2014 at 11:09 a.m.
    At 11/4 odds, I may as well put $10K on Brazil, now. It would be an "investment".

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