Croatian Manager Niko Kovac said he blamed the referee rather than Brazil’s Fred after the referee gave the World Cup host nation a penalty in their 3-1 opening game defeat. Following the loss, Kovac asked in his post match press conference whether anyone present thought it was a penalty.
“If that’s how we start the World Cup, then we may as well give up and go home now. The referee was well placed, he was not unsighted. He saw everything. I don’t blame Fred at all. I blame the referee,” said Kovac.
Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura failed to show Brazil’s goldenboy a red card for a first-half elbow on Croatia’s Luka Modric. He gave the host nation a penalty as Fred fell over under the slightest contact before disallowing a Croatian goal judging that Julio Cesar was fouled by Ivica Olic although replays showed merely failed to gather the cross. Despite the clearly being frustrated by the officiating.
“Put your hand up if you think it was a penalty,” Kovac asked the journalists present. “Two billion people [watching on television] could see it was not a penalty. I must say the referee was completely out of his depth. It’s ridiculous. If we continue in this way we will have a circus. If someone’s not up to scratch to referee the first game then find someone else. We talk about respect, that wasn’t respect, Croatia didn’t get any. If that’s a penalty, we don’t need to play football anymore. Let’s play basketball instead, it’s a shame.”