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

Croatian Veterans Demanding Due Dignity Condemn Governance

Croatian Veterans Convention 2014 Photo: FaH  (Click on image to enlarge)

Croatian Veterans Convention 2014
Photo: FaH (Click on image to enlarge)

 

On Saturday 17 May the USA marked its Armed Forces Day with pride, respect and celebrations, parades, across the country to pay tribute to the men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces in times of war and peace. The UK will do the same on 28 June. In Croatia, the veterans of the 1990’s Homeland War still find themselves fighting for their rights, for recognition – for the dignity that should be felt across the nation. This is a tragedy that can only be removed through strong retaliation against this injustice.

On Friday 16 May the first convention of Croatian Homeland War veterans and members of their families was held in Zagreb – several thousands of veterans and victims of the 1991-95 war and their guests attended the Lisinski concert hall where the convention was held.

It turned loud and tumultuous as the mere mention of the minister in charge Predrag Matic sparked the gathered participants to loudly boo and whistle in disapproval and rejection.

We have been witnessing the long-lasting poor governance of the Croatian state, the sale of national resources, the pauperisation of the Croatian people, the stigmatisation of Homeland War veterans and the abolishment of their acquired rights, and now we say that’s enough,” reads one of the conclusions of the convention.

We say to those to whom the dignity of Croatian Homeland War veterans and the Homeland War means nothing, we will no longer tolerate such an attitude. We demand the prosecution of war crimes against the Croatian people and the revision of cases covered by the General Amnesty Act. We demand the collection of war reparations from the aggressor and that all rights of the veterans and their families be regulated under the Croatian War Veterans Act,” said in his speech Ante Deur, the president of the Guard Brigades Corps, adding that “the veterans will no longer permit that those who had not defended Croatia decide upon their fate”.

The convention voiced demands for the Homeland War to be portrayed in schools in a truthful and dignified way, and directions seeking that Vukovar be proclaimed a place of Special Piety and announcements that the veterans will not allow the arrest of Vukovar heroes.

In his very emotional speech, Djuro Goloski, a 100% war invalid, emphasised that the Homeland War was not a civil war and that the veterans who defended Croatia are not criminals. “We were heroes,” he said. “and today we are treated as a mob.” Goloski accused the current and the previous government of systematically disparaging veterans and restricting their rights.

We insist that our children have the right to education and work in line with traditional values and the world view of the Croatian people.”

Croatian Homeland War veterans will defend the values of the family as the pillar of every society, say the conclusions that were read out by the president of the Guard Brigades Corps, Ante Deur, whose words were met with standing ovations.

Even though Parliament Speaker Josip Leko was expected to address the convention, it did not happen. Veterans’ Affairs Minister Predrag Matic’s presence was met with loud disapproval, apparently scaring away his communist pro-Yugoslavia parliamentary comrade.

Standing ovations rose to the national football team player Joe Simunic (who is currently a victim of FIFA’s political persecution, banning him to play at the coming World Cup in Brazil, based on his “For Home” chant at a relatively recent soccer match in Croatia) , singer Marko Perkovic Thompson, members of the Initiative for the Defence of a Croatian Vukovar and General Mladen Markac.

Among the guests were Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic and the president of the opposition HDZ party, Tomislav Karamarko.

Nineteen years have passed since the last armed operation in August of 1995 for the defense and liberation of Croatia from Serb aggression. It is a tragic reality that the veterans still find themselves struggling for their rights, for their recognition as a national symbol of freedom and door to democracy. This awful reality has a great deal to do with the politics of equating the aggressor with the victim and the fact that many still call the shots in Croatian government who were against Croatian independence and democracy and who still do not accept it, nor cherish it. Out with them, I say.

Ron Kovic, an American veteran – a son of a Croatian father and Irish mother – whose battles are so well portrayed in his autobiography “Born On Fourth Of July” (and movie of same title) said, quite a few years ago:
We who have witnessed the obscenity of war and experienced its horror and terrible consequences have an obligation to rise above our pain and suffering and turn the tragedy of our lives into a triumph.
I have come to believe there is nothing in the lives of human beings more terrifying than war and nothing more important than for those of us who have experienced it to share its awful truth.”
And in light of these words and the demands and conclusions from the Croatian Veterans Convention, I conclude this post and say: Blessings to you Croatian Veterans from the Homeland War. Keep fighting for the democracy and the rights under it – for which you lost lives, limbs and homes! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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