Croatian defender on penalty call: 'Just give Brazil the World Cup'

By Tom Fornelli | CBSSports.com

A controversial penalty call helped determine the outcome of Brazil-Croatia Thursday
A controversial penalty call helped determine the outcome of Brazil-Croatia. (USATSI)

Brazil vs. Croatia: MatchTracker | Game Commentary | Fred's apparent dive leads to goal

In news that should come as a surprise to no one who watched Thursday's World Cup opener between Brazil and Croatia, there's at least one Croatian player unhappy with the decision by match referee Yuichi Nishimura to award Brazil a penalty that gave the Brazilians a 2-1 lead at the time.

Croatian defender Vedran Corluka did not mince words when asked about the controversial call after the game.

“If this continues, I think no one should play against Brazil,” Corluka told Yahoo Sports. “We can just give them the World Cup and everyone can go home. [Nishimura] shouldn't be allowed to referee another game.”

Croatia's coach, Niko Kovac, shared his player's feelings on the call.

“It's ridiculous,” Kovac told USA Today. “If we continue in this way, we will have a circus. Brazil doesn't need any help from the referees."

The penalty was called when Brazil played a ball into the box, and Brazil's Fred made contact with Croatia's Dejan Lovren. Fred went down after the contact and the penalty was called, with Neymar converting for his second goal of the match. To say the call was generous to Brazil would be, well, quite generous. There was certainly contact between Fred and Lovren in the box, but it certainly didn't appear to be enough to knock Fred to the ground, and I certainly didn't feel a penalty was necessary, either.

But it was called anyway, and the rest, as they say, is history. If there's any silver lining to the call it's that Brazil would go on to score a third goal in the late minutes, so odds are Croatia would have found itself on the losing end either way.

Still, when you prepare so hard and long for the World Cup, possibly having your fate determined by a very questionable call from a referee is never going to feel good.

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