[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.
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.