Croatian press slam penalty

2014-06-13 11:13
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric (Supplied)
Croatia midfielder Luka Modric (Supplied)

Cape Town - Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura bore the brunt of the Croatian media's anger on Friday for awarding what they termed was 'a non existent penalty' to hosts Brazil in the World Cup opening match with Croatia which they ultimately won 3-1.

"Injustice!" "Shame!" and "Referee shamelessly broke the Fiery Ones (Vatreni - the team's nickname)!" read the leading dailies frontpage headlines as they lamented over an "invented penalty."

The press gave great play too to Croat coach Niko Kovac's comments to Croatian state-run HRT television that: "If that was a penalty then we should not play football anymore!"

Nishimura - Asian referee of the year in 2012 - turned the game when with the match evenly poised at 1-1 in the second-half he awarded the penalty believing that striker Fred had been fouled by Dejan Lovren, though, there appeared to be no contact whatsoever.

The influential Jutarnji List slammed Nishimura by saying "inexcusable mistake by the referee at the World Cup opening match" by which he "pierced Croatia's heart with a sword."

"With a rather peculiar interpretation of the rules by Japanese referee Nishimura Croatia was deprived the right to fight against Brazil on an equal footing," wrote one of the paper's columnists.

Sports daily Sportske Novosti gave credit to Neymar, who converted the penalty to secure himself a brace in the match, but had no mercy for Nishimura.

"Neymar and Japanese referee Nishimura took away Croatia's big dream," it commented.

"Croatia began the match in excellent fashion and silenced Corinthians Arena with Marcelo's own goal. But Brazil woke up and turned the match the other way with the referee's help."

However, the papers said on the upside there was much to encourage Croat fans that their team could go further in the tournament where their best showing was a semi-final appearance in 1998.

Sportske Novosti said that (coach) Niko Kovac's squad "showed that it can be counted on at the tournament."

Croatia produced a "solid game," it said but warned that the team lacked a player capable of orchestrating the flow of the match.

Jutarnji List stressed that Croatia performed bravely while the Vecernji List daily estimated that "after the defeat the pride remains."

Croatia will go on to play Cameroon and Mexico, the latter two sides open their campaign later on Friday in Natal.

Read more on: brazil croatia swc 2014 soccer

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