Croatia furious with SWC ref

2014-06-13 09:08
Brazil vs Croatia (AP)
Brazil vs Croatia (AP)

Sao Paulo - Furious Croatia coach Niko Kovac said the Japanese referee in his side's 3-1 defeat to Brazil was "out of his depth" after a bitterly disputed penalty changed the course of the Soccer World Cup opener.

AS IT HAPPENED: Brazil v Croatia

GALLERY: Open Ceremony

The unfancied European team took a shock lead when Marcelo scored an own goal in the 11th minute before Neymar levelled.

But Croatia, ranked 18th in the world, were holding their own in the second half until referee Yuichi Nishimura pointed to the spot after Fred backed into Croatian defender Dejean Lovren and fell.

"If anybody saw that was a penalty, let them raise their hand. I cannot raise my hand. I didn't see it," said Kovac.

"If you continue in this vein then there will be 100 penalties during this World Cup."

Kovac branded the spot kick award "ridiculous", saying he blamed himself for not saying during Wednesday's press conference that he would be "keeping a beady eye on the referee".

The disappointed coach said he felt his team had deserved at least a point from the match, praising his players for their performance in front of passionate support for the home side.

He said he did not blame Fred for his tumble.

"I cannot blame Fred because everybody tries to do that. This is part of the sport whether you like it or not. This is part and parcel of football.

"What I want is for the referees to stick to the laws of the game, applying them equally to both teams. The referee was well placed, he was not unsighted, he saw everything and he took that decision."

More In This Category

Alejandro Sabella, who steered Argentina to the SWC final, has decided to quit as coach, Argentine has media reported.
The Japanese referee whose decisions in the opening match of the SWC triggered a storm of controversy has hit back at critics.
Brazilian superstar Neymar's brain activity while dancing past opponents is less than 10 percent the level of amateur players.
England's dismal SWC campaign in Brazil was doubly disappointing for Britain's pub operators, prompting soccer fans to stay at home.
Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk