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Brazil beats Croatia 3-1 as World Cup kicks off amid protests

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As a Japanese, I must say it ashamed me the performance of Yuichi Nishimura. The inexistent penalty cast a shadow over his future in the tournament.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

I think Nishimura might be boarding the flight home sooner than he would have liked. That was a horrendous call to make. A few other dubious decisions went Brazil's way too.

Shame Mandzukic couldn't play today. Would have been a whole different game with him playing. Also, Brazil are most likely not gonna be a contender for this WC if today's performance was anything to go by.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Totally agree. That was a dive plain and simple. Ref got it all wrong and changed the entire match. I was pretty surprised at how average Brazil looked. Keep playing like that and it might be an early (~ier than expected) exit from the tournament.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

But with the way things are going on at FiFA, I imagine he will be boarding that flight with a pretty heavy carry on bag flush with cash. If I'm not mistaken he also had a few bad calls in South Africa that had him eliminated from the the big important games.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Yeah, not a good penalty decision, that. Real home town decision.

I will say though, the Croatians are pretty physical and underhanded in the box, so don't do themselves any favours in this respect. You might recall in their last game in a World Cup, they deliberately handled the ball in the box twice - one got a penalty, one didn't.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

my humble opinion is that the penalty was right call.

If you look the closely on the slow reply again, you will notice that the defender had held back the attacker with his hand..obstructing the attacker to move..and hence Yuichi Nishimura made the penalty call..it wasnt the dive that resulted in the penalty, but rather the hands holding back the Brazil striker...

-2 ( +9 / -10 )

@torosushi

Exactly how I saw it. You can't be grabbing somebody by the shoulder like that and expect to get away with it. The feet were irrelevant.

Well done, Ref.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Exactly how I saw it. You can't be grabbing somebody by the shoulder like that and expect to get away with it.

You can, otherwise there would be about 80 penalties per game and it would be a non-contact sport.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

but Croatia were left in fury when Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura pointed to the spot in the second half after Fred backed into Croatian defender Dejean Lovren and fell.

No question it was a dive, and the American sports shows, especially on ESPN, are not holding back their criticism. Even if you agree that the defender was holding his shoulders, there was no reason at all for the obvious dive. In fact the replay clearly shows his hands were competely off Neymar when he started to fall.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Even though diving has been around for decades, it just shows how hard it is for even an experienced ref not to be fooled by someone landing on the ground in dramatic style. Very easy to be wise from watching replays after the event.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@daves

Let me reword it:

You can't, in direct breach of the laws, hold somebody back by the shoulder in the penalty area, and then act all outraged when the referee applies those laws correctly.

To those concentrating on the dive, that came after the initial foul and doesn't matter.

And I was hoping Croatia would sneak it, so no bias here.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Except that he didn't hold him back. You simply can't call that as a penalty because there would be dozens per game. Furthermore, Neymar should have got a straight red and not even been on the pitch to take the penalty. The foul on the Brazilian keeper was doubtful as well.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The penalty decision was outrageous, and to compound his error, the ref then allowed Neymar to take an illegal penalty. He broke his run up, paused, stepped left and right, and only then ran in. That shouldn't have been allowed.

Beautiful game? Cynical cheating from Brazil, which was sad to see.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Call me an idiot, but he was grabbed which could have impaired him from getting control of the ball. He grabbed him!! The dive needn't have happened. I would have called the penalty anyway. I don't want Brazil to win. I would love to see an underdog win. But the ref had to call it.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Diving was surely one to argue but that obstruction call against Olic with the keeper denying Croatian the equalizer was the worst call of the game.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The penalty kick was a complete BS. I'm sure it's a tough job being a referee at an important game like that but a wrong call is a wrong call.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The other point to make is that players should be rewarded for trying to stay on their feet even if fouled. When a decision's 50-50 (and that penalty decision definitely was NOT) then a player shouldn't benefit from throwing themselves theatrically onto the floor. This kind of behaviour, together with the readiness of refs to give free kicks for minor infringements, is ruining the game for me.

Brazil have ample natural talent to go a long way in this tournament, there's no need for them to concentrate on deceiving the referee, they should just go out and play. If the Croatian keeper had had a better game, Brazil might've lost. Would like to see how they handle Spain or Germany on a good day - playing like that, no amount of favourable decisions would stop them from getting blown away.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The ref was gutless and had a stinker. He lost his nerve and played home.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Nishimura's shocking refereeing has embarassed Japan. Although I support Brasil, the ridiculous penskty ruined that game for croatia and has left many pondering why FIFA continue utilizing sub standards referees in duch a big tournament as the world cup. Absolutely embarassing to watch Nishimura's incompetence throughout that match.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

The Japanese press is praising the performance of the refereeing team. It's so sadly predictable. I see individual people criticizing Nishimura, but the institutional failure to admit that anyone Japanese can ever do anything wrong on the international stage is just an embarrassment.

As other posters have pointed out, it might "technically" be a foul, to lightly put your hand on someone's shoulder, but this are highly trained athletes who should be able to perform despite such minor inconveniences. You simply can't referee a game by calling up all minor infringements without completely running the spectacle. Admittedly there is a structural problem with the laws of the game that causes the prescribed punishment for offenses in the box to be out of all proportion to the offenses' impact, but everyone knows this, which is why penalty judgement cannot be soft calls.

And quickly: "the penalty decision was outrageous, and to compound his error, the ref then allowed Neymar to take an illegal penalty".

The rules have changed on this. It used to be illegal to break your run up, but now it is allowed as long as you do not actually swing your foot right over the ball to mislead the keeper before taking your real shot.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There are tons of comments on Facebook in Portuguese saying "we robbed Croatia, with the help of the referee". Even Brazilians are aware that that penalty was wrong.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Just saw the penalty again on the lunchtime news.

That would have been given seven times out of ten in the English Premier League, I'm sure of it.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@lucabrasi, not a chance! The Japanese referee totally bottled it. I'd say it would've been given one out of a hundred times in the EPL at best. That atrocious decision will now go down with the most notorious in World Cup history along with Maradona's "Hand of God" in 1986, Grosso's dive against Australia in 2006 and a few more shockers (which don't immediately come to mind). The Croatian manager said 2.5 billion people would've disagreed and he'd be close to the mark. Croatia were robbed.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

'That would have been given seven times out of ten in the English Premier League, I'm sure of it.'

At the Etihad, Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge for the home sides.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Diving was surely one to argue but that obstruction call against Olic with the keeper denying Croatian the equalizer was the worst call of the game.

I don't like that call either but unfortunately its given 99% of the time. Any contact on the keeper is always called a foul.

That would have been given seven times out of ten in the English Premier League, I'm sure of it.

At least in the EPL they can now suspend players for diving by videotape. They need to add that rule to Fifa events.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That atrocious decision will now go down with the most notorious in World Cup history along with Maradona's "Hand of God" in 1986, Grosso's dive against Australia in 2006 and a few more shockers (which don't immediately come to mind).

That would be South Korea in 2002. Yes, FIFA have form for this.

Its so predicable. Brazil were always going to get every major decision if the game was close. Neymar could easily have been sent off.. if that was a Croatia player I bet he would have been off.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Problem is now everyone smells a rat for the future games and knowing FIFA the have a rat farm hidden somewhere.Having said that Im sure some decisions have gone Croatias way when they play in zagreb .Unfortunately that is soccer,hometown decisions etc part of the game

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That would have been given seven times out of ten in the English Premier League, I'm sure of it.

Are you kidding me? You must not watch that much PL if you think that. I'd say one time out of ten at most. If it were shirt pulling maybe but that's not what we are talking about here. If it had been last season in the PL I think Fred would have gotten a yellow card for diving.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There is no defence for the referee, other than that he was put on the spot and did not have the benefit of replays. That would only have been given in a European league by a referee who did not see it properly. No professional referee would look at the replay of that and give a penalty. Plenty of referees in e.g. the EPL would have red-carded Neymar for his forearm in the throat of Modric, but a red would have been harsh.

Some posters must have football confused as a non-contact sport. If that was a penalty, almost every cross in the game would result in a penalty. Then the score in most games would be about 22-18 and might actually entertain North Americans.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Brazil cheats Croatia should surely be the headline? Fred should get Oscar for that 'fall'. It brings the game --the outrage of Blatter scandal aside-- further into disrepute, no wonder Australians don't dig soccer.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That atrocious decision will now go down with the most notorious in World Cup history along with Maradona's "Hand of God" in 1986, Grosso's dive against Australia in 2006 and a few more shockers (which don't immediately come to mind).

lol, PK in the opening match doesn't compare to the hand of god in the semifinal. Neither does the Grosso "dive" where the Australian defender slid right into his path.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

One the WORST deceptions was by another Brazilian in 2002 against Turkey, remember THAT one, Rivaldo acted as though he'd been shot, in the face, got the Turkish player sent off by blatantly cheating.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c17aeF7JxAg

So many TRUE fans of this game are getting annoyed at the lack of fairness. The beautiful game or the frame game?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Brazil cheats Croatia should surely be the headline?

I agree. The call was bad, but something is wrong if all the complaints are directed at the ref and none at Fred. This tells players that they can dive and play-act and not be penalized or criticized in any way. Its a win-win situation for cheaters.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Therougou, I called Fred out in my post.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@therougou

Fair enough, it's not nearly as bad as the Hand of God which was as notorious as it gets. In Grosso's case though, you may disagree but the man himself has acknowledged his guilt. Lucas Neill did slide in unnecessarily but it was a horrible decision at the death that unfairly handed Italy the game when they were out on their feet and about to play extra time with ten men. They then went on and won the Cup so for many people, not just Aussies, that one is up there. As for today's balls up, it remains to be seen how it will have influenced the group outcome. You can debate how it compares with howlers of the past but there's no arguing it was a horrible decision.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why is Japan taking such personal ownership of the referee's performance? People are proud, people are ashamed, the media is praising...we're talking about the freaking ref! Why does his nationality have anything to do with it? This should have no affect - positive or negative - on anyone other than Nishimura and his team.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@YongYang

Therougou, I called Fred out in my post

I know, that's why I quoted you with an "I agree" :-)

@banz10

Lucas Neill did slide in unnecessarily but it was a horrible decision at the death that unfairly handed Italy the game when they were out on their feet and about to play extra time with ten men.

Well yeh I root for Italy so I'm biased. To me it was justified because I felt Italy were unlucky to be playing the whole match with 10 men to begin with. Also Italy were really done in by the refs in 2002 so I'm not sure why everyone acts like they are the bad guys. But regardless the Aussies were great that tournament.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

'Well yeh I root for Italy so I'm biased'

The disgraceful dive by Grosso in 2006 was an outrage comparable with last night. Italy have been masters of the dark arts since I've been watching football - operatic dives, spitting prettyboys and great but jaw-droppingly cynical defenders like Gentile, Bergomi, Baresi and the scumbag Materazzi. Oh, and dull, negative football. Italy, along with others, have taught the world that cheats can prosper in football and last night's dive is part of that tradition.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Therougou, but you wrote

but something is wrong if all the complaints are directed at the ref and none at Fred

I didn't. I am a part of that 'all'. So, do you see?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The referee's call was outrageous and it broke Croatia's momentum, but I think Brazil still outplayed Croatia overall. The Japanese ref, however, will go down in the Hall of Shame as one of the worst refs in history. Someone should check his bank accounts. $$$

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is not fair to blame Japanese judge for dishonest Brazillian player dive. Japanese players do not dive so this referee maybe not used to foreign players tricky

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

"That would have been given seven times out of ten in the English Premier League, I'm sure of it."

Please stop it, my sides hurt. Anyway, it is eye-opening (to say the least) to see people disagreeing on something which seems so obvious.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

http://www.laughspin.com/2014/06/09/john-oliver-fifa-rant-amazing-watch-hbo-video-of-last-week-tonight-host-slamming-soccers-governing-body-before-2014-world-cup/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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