WATCH: FIFA on Friday admitted there were concerns about a penalty kick awarded to Brazil, but rejected suggestions that they were favouring the host nation on the pitch.
The 2014 version of the FIFA World Cup is just 24 hours old but already controversy hangs in the air.
And we’re not talking about the protests happening outside of stadiums but what’s happening inside them, on the pitch.
FIFA officials responded Friday to an inquiring press gallery about the questionable call from Japanese official Yuishi Nichimura a day earlier in Brazil’s opening match against Mexico.
Nichimura awarded Brazil a suspect penalty kick that star striker Neymar converted in the 71st minute, giving the host nation 2-1 lead in what turned into a 3-1 victory.
“It’s a fair assessment. It’s an assessment from a human being, which is a referee [who] is doing what he can. He’s in the moment,” Thierry Weil, FIFA’s director of marketing told a press conference.
“We can see the replay ten times, we’ll have five different opinions. But the person themselves has to do it at the moment he has to do it. This will happen in other games where Brazil will not play.”
That’s cold comfort to Croatian fans.
WATCH: Croatian fans begrudge referee’s performance in World Cup opener.
The controversial call made in the opener wasn’t alone long. Others made Friday have ensured that refereeing standards at the World Cup will be a hotly debated topic for the rest of the tournament.
Indeed, cries of dodgy calls erupted again during Mexico’s Group A tilt with Cameroon, when Giovani dos Santos of Mexico had two apparent goals called back by referee Wilmar Roldan of Columbia, deemed offside by the official.
Mexico won 1-0, but the score was closer than some thought it should have been.
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