Lovren, Croatia outraged with referee’s decisions vs. Brazil
SAO PAULO (AP) — Organizers may as well give the World Cup to Brazil right now, according to Croatia’s Dejan Lovren, after the defender found himself at the center of a penalty controversy in his team’s 3-1 defeat to the host nation Thursday.
Brazil striker Fred went down in the penalty area under slight contact from Lovren in the 71st minute, allowing Neymar to convert a spot kick that gave Brazil a decisive 2-1 lead in Thursday’s tournament opener.
Lovren said referee Yuichi Nishimura’s decision was a ”big shame” and that ”if it is like this, then we can give the World Cup directly to Brazil.
”Of course I am angry. I want to cry now but what can you do?” he told reporters. ”If you look at the game I think you saw everything. So I don’t need to explain.”
Criticism of Nishimura’s penalty award was shared by Croatia coach Niko Kovac, whose team continues its Group A campaign against Cameroon on Wednesday.
”It was a wrong decision by the referee,” Kovac said. ”I think that the whole world saw the big mistake.”
Midfielder Ivan Rakitic added: ”This was a great game by both teams and it’s a pity it was spoiled by a bad referee decision.”
Other Croatia players said they were pleased with their performance while expressing anger about the officiating.
Defender Vedran Corluka described the penalty as ”embarrassing.”