Brazil 3 Croatia 1: Fifa defend under-fire referee Yuichi Nishimura as Japanese official caught up in diving row during opening World Cup match

Croatia feel that Fred won a penalty by diving to give Neymar the chance to go ahead in the opening World Cup match

Fifa have defended under-fire referee Yuichi Nishimura for his decision to award a penalty in favour of Brazil during the World Cup-opening 3-1 victory over Croatia that has sparked a massive backlash from the European side.

Manager Nico Kovac claimed that “two billion people saw it was not a penalty” while squad members Vedran Corluka and Dejan Lovren were equally as scathing, suggesting that Fifa should hand Brazil the trophy now and “everyone else can go home”.

But Fifa’s referee chief Massimo Busacca has come to the defence of Nishimura, claiming that there was contact between Fred and Lovren even if it was minimal.

“The referees know the responsibility at the World Cup is a lot, every decision can change a lot,” said Busacca.

“In refereeing, we have black and white but we also have cases that can be on the borderline. Yesterday [Thursday], we can discuss; was it enough (contact)? Yes or no?

“On the pitch, the referee takes a decision in less than one second. He is concentrated on the gesture and when you see the hands doing something, it's difficult to arrive at one conclusion.

 

“This is what the referee saw on the pitch, he had a good position, but he is not the attacker or the defender, we have to ask them if it's enough (contact) to fall down.

“There was contact, if you don't have the contact then we would not be here to discuss it. If the player doesn't touch, doesn't hold, we don't discuss it.

“The left hand touched and then also the right. If you play with the hands out, the referee sees that clearly and decides one way.”

Read more: 'Two billion people saw it was not a penalty'
Referee plays part in hosts' victorious opener
Nishimura has Wikipedia page altered

Busacca went on to leave doubt over whether Nishimura would be selected again when the next batch of refereeing appointments are released, with Fifa choosing to name each set of match officials in the days leading up to a fixture.

He added that Nishimura’s performance would be evaluated before a decision is made, and that anyone can say that the Japanese official made a mistake given that it is their opinion.

“For every player, we can consider their performance and how they did - for referees it is the same,” he added. ”Mistake? It's your opinion, you can say it if you want.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'