Croatia’s Fair Chance Of Victory At World Cup Snatched Away!

Croatian flag face paint

Croatian flag face paint


Congratulating Brazil on its victory at the World Cup opening game against Croatia – Thursday 12 June – I cannot but notice that the world leading media outlets seem to be in agreement that the Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura “gifted” brazil a penalty shot that kicked off a winning streak for the Brazilian team.

With 20 minutes of normal time remaining, referee Nishimura adjudged that Dejan Lovren had fouled Fred and pointed to the penalty spot. It was a bewildering decision, with television pictures clearly showing that the Brazil striker had fallen over and not been dragged down by Lovren…” write’s CNN’s James Masters.

A dubious penalty call saw Neymar chalk up his second to give Brazil the lead in the 71st minute…” comments ABC’s Dean Bilton.

BBC’s commentator and former UK team player, Chris Waddle, reportedly could not believe how the penalty shot was awarded against Croatia. “…the game was led by a bad referee who decided the game”.

The game turned on a controversial penalty awarded by Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura in the 71st minute when striker Fred went down inside the area under minimal contact from defender Dejan Lovren. Neymar scored from the spot and the Croatians were furious.
‘If that was a penalty, we should be playing basketball,” said Croatia coach Niko Kovac. “Those kinds of fouls are penalized there.’’
‘That is shameful, this is not a World Cup referee. He had one kind of criteria for them and another for us. The rules were not the same,‘’ said Kovac, writes The Guardian/Associated Press

Brazil were level minutes later courtesy of Neymar sending a shot spinning beyond the Croatia goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa via a post from 22 yards out.
Nishimura’s night managed to get progressively worse when he somehow spotted a foul on Fred by Dejan Lovren that never was.
It was a clear dive, but Nishimura pointed to the penalty spot before booking Lovren rather than Fred. It was a stinking ‘home-town’ decision that used to be famous during prize boxing matches in North America.
You do wonder how many referees are influenced by what is going on outside of the stadium. Namely, the need for Brazil to do well against a backdrop of protesters unhappy with the use of the public purse to host the finals.
Neymar planted the penalty to the right of Pletikosa, who should have saved…
There was time yet for Nishimura to continue his error-strewn ways when he disallowed a legitimate Croatia equaliser after Ivica Orlic was deemed to have fouled the Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar in the air on 82 minutes. It was another dreadful call, but one in keeping with the general poverty of his decision-making…” writes Desmond Kane, Eurosport


“…Brazil’s penalty was, undoubtedly, the turning point of the night. It came in the 71st minute and if one positive comes from it this will be the last we see of this referee for a good while. Brazil were on top at the time but labouring. Croatia were not a goal threat but were holding fast at the back and a gutsy draw was beginning to look a real possibility.
At which point Fred – not as exciting a forward as his name suggests, by the way – backed into Dejan Lovren and then fell beneath the merest contact from the Croatian defender. Nishimura needed no second invitation to do the bidding of the Arena Corinthians and pointed to the spot. Brazil’s No 10 did the rest.
There may even be a question over the legality of the Brazil’s penalty… Nishimura’s infamy may take longer to live down… So, not a good night for referee Yuichi Nishimura of Japan who will feature in many conspiracy theorists most fevered speculations from here. He was almost certainly useless, not corrupt, but it is true that his three big errors were all to the benefit of one team.

FIFA only have themselves to blame, therefore, for this fresh round of slander and negativity. They are now regarded as a rogue organisation – an administrative axis of evil, if you will – and it is a very small step from believing events around the game are corrupt, to thinking the same applies to the game itself.
The need for Brazilian success here has been universally agreed and the disgust with FIFA is now so great, all too many can imagine them facilitating results like any other backdoor deal.
Of course, if FIFA were so desperate to ensure Brazilian progress they would surely not have placed them on a potential collision course with Spain or Holland – both of whom could be a real threat on this evidence – in round two, but logic won’t get too much play over the coming weeks if there are too many repeats of travesties like this.
It wasn’t that the best team didn’t win – they did – but the way it happened left a sour taste…” writes Martin Samuel of Daily Mail.

And so the same story is repeated in the majority of world’s mainstream media. The referee Yuichi Nishimura and FIFA acted dishonourably, snatching away Croatia’s fair chance at victory in this game. But then again, nothing surprises me when it comes to FIFA – it started chipping away at Croatia’s chances of victory some months back when it made the decision to exclude Joe Simunic from the game, wrongly and wickedly deciding that his chant “For Home” at a soccer game was a WWII fascist chant! One could see the politically ill winds against Croatia blowing from FIFA a long time ago. If corruption allegations in relation to Qatar 2022 currently afoot against Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, prove to be true, who knows what other nasties will crawl out from under the FIFA rock? Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia Team: "We did not deserve to lose" Photo: Sanjin Strukic/Pixsell

Croatia Team: “We did not deserve to lose”
Photo: Sanjin Strukic/Pixsell


  1. Olic was good but it was obvious that we missed Mandjo. Jelavic gave it his best, but he just doesn’t have Mandjo’s timing on incoming crosses. Oh well, chin up and prepare for Cameroon.

  2. The referee was in total confusion!!!!!

    • Oh maybe, Dario Riccardi but also maybe he knew very well what he was doing, which is the consesus of most professional sports writers and analysts 🙁

  3. When a referee’s errors benefit one team it diminishes the value of victory for that team. Brazil did not win fair and square, in my opinion.

    • Complaints are totally founded, Carol, that’s why I opted to quote what others (not Croatians) have said. It’s just so sad because the Croatian team did play so well and they did not deserve this. No one does.

    • You said, “When a referee’s errors benefit one team it diminishes the value of victory for that team.”

      Ever since I read your statement, I’ve been thinking about it, and I believe there’s a way around a team feeling that a win of theirs has been diminished. It ties into Kipling’s poem “If” that I reread and placed on here.

      Anyone can stand tall after a victory, if they can rightfully say they accepted a defeat imposed upon them without complaint. (Easy for me to say, and much easier said than done. But the payoff is that you really can justly lay claim to a victory after you’ve done that. No one can take that away from you.)

      • I don’t believe that a team can stand tall after a victory if that victory was won because of a referee’s errors. That’s all I was trying to say.I might be wrong. 🙂

  4. Observer says:
  5. Mason Orr says:

    Croatia has a right to feel slighted. It was a dubious call from Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura to say the least. Croatian defender Dejan Lovren was jostling with Brazil’s Fred when the latter seemed to fall of his own accord. But Nishimura pointed to the spot, gave Lovren the yellow card, and Neymar blasted the ball past Stipe Pletikosa for the match winner.

  6. Croatia has to be pleased with its performance. At times, the Croatians gave Brazil all they could handle, and it bodes well for the side’s chances at snagging the second spot in Group A. Croatia plays next against Cameroon on Wednesday – Go Croatia! Stuff Nishimura.

  7. Martin Walsh says:

    This match personifies the saying that the final score doesn’t always tell the whole story.

    Brazil escaped from the opening match of the 2014 World Cup with a controversial victory over Croatia that was more intense and evenly contested than the 3-1 final indicates.

    Bravo Croatia’s lads! Brazil may not care about the story behind their match “victory” but hey, the truth is there!

  8. Soccer is fixed… The hosting had to win…

    • Yes, sad, Juan! 🙁
      Never mind we at least get to enjoy the love around the game 😀

      • I’m sorry to say the whole industry is fixed… Anyone who was to be matched agains Brazil was going to go down in defeat.. The next site is Qutar and what do you bet their home team wins. FIFA is riddled with shady dealings.. But yes the sport brings nations together if only for a moment

      • And so, Juan, qualifying to get to the big game is an amazing success 😀

  9. Ina – this is yet again typical Croatian reactionary thinking – someone else is to blame for our misfortunes.

    Yes – the ref made a horrendously bad call.

    Why did Croatia not just STOP THE GAME and refuse to play on after the horrible call? That would have sent a message – but e had the typical sheeple reaction.

    • I guess Zeljko it’s typical of all nations to rationalise and defend one self in the face of such a loss at a game. Shifting the blame to someone else is not typical to Croatia, sorry, it’s just typical to all. I agree with you that a stronger protest should have been made there and then – stopping to play would have been very potent…

    • I would agree with you, Zeljko, if it was only Croatians reacting to the decisions, but it’s not.

      Why didn’t Croatia stop the game you say? Why doesn’t the world just stop playing international level football given the controversy around FIFA’s organisation of this year’s World Cup? Why didn’t Brazil protest and boycott the game considering the massive monetary loss their country is facing as a result of hosting? (Even if they do win the Cup, most of the money goes into the pockets of FIFA). Why doesn’t every other team stand behind the people of Brazil and protest against FIFA by refusing to play?

      I’m sure that looking back on, at least one individual from the Croatian team would think “we should have protested more”, but even if they had, that would not guarantee a fair ruling for Croatia, nor would it guarantee Croatia getting off scot-free by FIFA.

  10. I think our loss has more to do with the fact that Croatia had only FOUR shots on the Brazilian goal, that Croatia had possession on 40% and that the Croatian keeper had horrible reflexes letting in 2 goals which a good keeper would have stopped,

  11. I watched the game too… missed the first 20 mins of it. But that disallowed goal was controversial too .. I hope Brazil gets that ref if they get to the final, He was obviously on Brazil’s side..;-)
    I thought Croatia played brilliant football…

    Have a wonderful Weekend Ina… xxx Sue

  12. Its about time that FIFA makes drastic changes in how such important events are judged. Most sports made such changes as replays that help make decisions just are important if FIFA wants to be a credible organization.

  13. I watched the games rooting for Croatia, so sorry, yes I am in agreement!

    • Cheers, Sachemspeaks, thank you on comment, I know it seems like whinging but the truth is that the loss would have been much more acceptable were it not for the referee’s blatant disregard and bias

  14. You didn’t deserve to lose that. There’s always a top referee for the World Cup final, so why not for the opening game, too?

  15. …would it be fair to have a RE-MATCH?

    • ooooooh, yeah, Tempus Fugit 😀

    • Of course it would, but FIFA officials are too senile and set in their ways to even consider changing the rules. At the very least, there should be video refs (replays) so players can actually challenge controversial calls and get an unbiased perspective of whether a foul occurred, but again, I can’t see FIFA implementing that. Nah, they’re too holy and untouchable and without flaw apparently. It’s just Croatia and the rest of the world’s sports media being whiny, you know?

  16. This confounded penalty awarded to Brazil altered the course of last night’s game and overcompensated Brazil`s on their OG . Croatia were unfortunate and the final score remains a controversial representation on Brazil`s win.Croatia`s talented sporting contestants cannot overcome Ref Yuichi Nishimura,s perceived justification on his ruling., Its reasonable to suspect Brazil will fare better as its their country that’s hosting the World Cup.
    Keep her lit Croatia all the way
    Za slobodom, Istina je Pobjeda

  17. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel.

  18. Reblogged this on Carolina Mountain Blue and commented:
    For what its’ worth, I agree: Brazil was gifted by the refs’ what eventually became the go-ahead goal.

  19. I know it’s pretty standard to always have a group of people complaining about referee decisions after their team loses a game. But when world sports writers and non-Croatian supporters even question the calls of a referee, you know it’s not just you being a sore loser. What an utter disgrace of a referee. What a shitty move of Brazil’s Fred too – it’s not a diving competition, mate.

    It’s difficult to look at the decisions in this game and not be suspicious of even more corruption within FIFA than we can imagine. It may seem paranoid, but when you have a large organisation with lots of money, power and influence, that sort of environment is ripe for corruption. There needs to be something in place to hold FIFA responsible for bad decisions and of course, to force them to change the rules of the game for the better, if they truly care about fairness and equal opportunity for all teams. I doubt they actually care about that, but it’s exactly why they need to be kept in line, just as governments need to be kept in line from abusing their power and influence. Now of course, it’s also very possible that this isn’t exactly a case of FIFA being corrupt and fixing the match, but of the referee acting on individual bias due to his environment and the pressure to have a Brazil win due to the protests that occurred. Even so, that is still a very bad look for FIFA and for the game and should absolutely be questioned and never allowed. If Brazil fans would have potentially rioted or been angry or whatever due to a Brazil loss or draw, it’s their problem that they can’t behave rationally, and they should be dealt with, but a potential outcome should never sway a ref’s decisions.

    • The referee’s should referee, not play biased games and enforce rules out of their sleeves, Kat – that would be the ideal world, the right world. Looks like we’re far from that, regretfully.

  20. Soccer is a funny game…lots of theatrics and very emotional. Being a fan of hockey and having coached kids hockey I understand the emotion. But like I tell the kids, play on; don’t use a bad call as a crutch, but use it to drive you to play harder, skate faster and win the game.That is the ultimate revenge and settling of bad calls from referees.Yes,they were bad calls and may even have been game changers,but so would have a few more goals for Croatia (although the disallowed goal was a messed up call); or a few more saved goals. Kinda harsh, but players and coaches have to move on and drive to victory.

  21. Dobro večer za vas i komentatora! 🙂
    Današnja utakmica je uvijek nepovoljan položaj u Hrvatskoj! 🙁
    Dani 11 metara proizvedeni od strane hrvatskih igrača koje je producirao! 🙁
    Manjkav ishod utakmice! 🙁
    Nažalost, Brazil će biti stalni prednost suci! 🙁 🙁 🙁
    Forza HRVATSKA! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    S poštovanjem,

    • Translation of Aliosa’s comment: Good evening to you and the commentators. Today’s game is an unfavourable position for Croatia!…Lacking game results. Sadly, the referees will give advantage to Brazil. Force to Croatia. With respect

      REPLY: Thank you on your thoughts, Aliosa – the game goes on! 😀

  22. That penalty was so unfair…

    Best wishes, my blogger friend, Aquileana 😀

  23. These sorts of things happened in US “football” often. It seems to me to be an unavoidable part of sports. I haven’t watched football in quite some time, but they introduced something with the refs watching video angles and all of that to double-check a call, and it took an already long game and made it boringly lengthy.

    • Unavoidable part it may be, Donald – all the more reason to protest 🙂

      • Not the way the man in the Croatian Face Paint is. I don’t think I’d be upholding my duty as a friend, if I didn’t say it is a disturbing image.

        By Rudyard Kipling

        If you can keep your head when all about you
        Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
        If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
        But make allowance for their doubting too;
        If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
        Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
        Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
        And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

        If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
        If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
        If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
        And treat those two impostors just the same;
        If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
        Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
        Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
        And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

        If you can make one heap of all your winnings
        And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
        And lose, and start again at your beginnings
        And never breathe a word about your loss;
        If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
        To serve your turn long after they are gone,
        And so hold on when there is nothing in you
        Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

        If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
        Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
        If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
        If all men count with you, but none too much;
        If you can fill the unforgiving minute
        With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
        Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
        And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

        The third and fourth lines of the second stanza of the poem: “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster / and treat those two impostors just the same” are written on the wall of the players’ entrance to the Centre Court at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, where the Wimbledon Championships are held.

      • …and yet, Donald, emotions do run high at Wimbledon…Kipling though, is to be heard and his words heeded

      • I’m happy you took the comment the way I intended. I know you’ll do the same for me, Professor.

      • Ah, Donald – as much geographically apart as we are the mind-waves travel fast and similar-minds get to meet. Cheers 😀

      • That’s so true. There are people I’ve met in life that I seem to connect with “through space and through time.”

        “A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

        Mary Ann Evans

      • Truer words have rarely been spoken on friendship, Donald.

      • Evans AKA George Eliot wrote one of my favorite books, “Silas Marner.” I didn’t read it, I listened to a reading of it. Wonderful job the reader did, too. Here’s the link for a rainy day–

      • Cheers and thanks!

  24. I don’t watch soccer. But I see the soccer fever in my office. It seems that there are often bad calls in sports. I guess it is about overcoming them. Good luck in the next game against Cameroon (did it happen already?)

    • Croatia p[lays Cameroon on Wednesday, psychologistmimi. Emotions do run high always at such events but it is good that people get to have things in common like love for the sports etc and get to communicate, cheer together, get angry together… God knows, with today’s alienating world of technology etc there seem to be less and less opportunities to rally together…

  25. Everyone in the world is watching soccer! 🙂

  26. Cameroon will see a different referee and a different result if the Croatian team play that well again. They shouldn’t be despondant, it’s doubtful they would have won in the climate that prevailed.Go Croatia!!
    xxx Hugs xxx

    • Playing Mexico on 24th, David – I’m hoping they’ll repeat the result or near it they had against Cameroon, the nation needs some emotional elation and what a better way to achieve that than through sports! 😀

  27. Just read your very amazing bio but could not find a place to comment so commenting here. It is inspiring and I admire all you have done. Thanks so much for following my little blog.

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