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Talking point: Blundering referee puts officiating under scanner

June 13, 2014 09:39 IST

Talking point: Blundering referee puts officiating under scanner

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Brazil lit up the World Cup with a controversy-ridden 3-1 opening win against Croatia on Thursday.

Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura wrongly awarded a soft penalty to Brazil, which brought the hosts back into the match.

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Nishimura ruled that Croatia's Dejan Lovren had fouled Fred when the Brazilian fell to the floor with 20 minutes remaining and the score at 1-1. Neymar converted the penalty for his second goal of the game and they went on to win 3-1.

Questions about the refereeing were raised by Croatia coach Niko Kovac who was furious and warned the World Cup could turn into a circus after a contentious penalty decision effectively cost his team the opening game of the tournament against Brazil.

"This was ridiculous today, and if we continue in this way we will have a circus," Kovac told a news conference dominated by questions about the penalty.

"If that's a penalty, we don't need to play football any more. Let's play basketball instead. The lads played their hearts out but that was outright thuggery by a referee who was just out of his depth for a game of this magnitude."

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Image: Referee Yuichi Nishimura is pursued by Dejan Lovren, Sime Vrsaljko, Nikica Jelavic and Ivan Rakitic of Croatia after wrongly awarding a penalty on Thursday
Photographs: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

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Kovac said he did not blame Fred for his theatrical fall. "The referee was well-placed, he was not unsighted, he saw everything and he took that decision," he said.

"I don't blame Fred at all."

Kovac, further analysed the officiating, and questioned the late goal scored by Oscar.

Oscar's third goal near the end of the game should not have been allowed due to a foul earlier in the move.

"Was there a foul on my player? Yes. It was a foul. But that's life. We will march on. We will not be swayed."


Image: Brazil and Croatia players converge on referee Yuichi Nishimura after a foul and yellow card was shown to Brazil's Neymar during their match on Thursday
Photographs: Fabrizio Bensch - Pool/Getty Images
Tags: Kovac

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