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Japan fans shamed after referee aids Brazil in opener

LiveMint logoLiveMint 13-06-2014 AFP

Tokyo: Japanese football fans hung their heads in shame after referee Yuichi Nishimura’s controversial performance in the World Cup opener helped Brazil to a 3-1 win over Croatia, further clouding Fifa’s (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) showpiece tournament.

Social media in Japan lit up after the official’s decision to give a soft penalty to Brazil which changed the balance of the closely fought match. Several posts showed mocked-up photos of Nishimura wearing a Brazil jersey.

“There’s a lot of Nishimura bashing but quite right,” tweeted @shinokc. “That was not a penalty. Feel so sorry for Croatia.”

Echoing the sentiments of Croatia’s furious coach Niko Kovac, who claimed Nishimura had been out of his depth, @sanadamasayuki2 commented: “It’s a tough job for us dithering Japanese.”

Anticipating further backlash, @tonbuhin tweeted: “Oh dear, if Brazil win the World Cup the whole world will say Nishimura was the MVP (most valuable player).”

The 42-year-old Nishimura also disallowed a Croatian goal and should arguably have shown Brazilian star Neymar a straight red card for elbowing Luka Modric.

He has been an international referee since 2004, and has officiated in several tournaments including the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

At the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, Nishimura was shoved by Angolan players during an ill-tempered quarter-final with Egypt but failed to send any of them off, and did not feature in the rest of the tournament.

In 2010, Congolese fans incandescent at his performance in a Club World Cup game took rather misguided revenge by vandalising a Chinese restaurant in their country.

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