Via the Globe and Mail's Stephanie Nolen, the front page of Brazilian paper O Globo's World Cup supplement today. Yeah, even the Brazilians know what's up.
That's a big arigato (thank you) to Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura, who awarded Brazil a penalty kick on a decidedly blatant dive in the box from Fred. It would be the go-ahead score in a 3-1 game—hence O Globo's subhead, which translates to "A just victory, but..."
Nishimura may be popular among supporters of the home team right now, but not so much in other quarters. After the match, Croatia manager Niko Kovac went off on the call:
"I don't think anybody, anywhere in the stadium, saw this as a penalty. If you continue like this you will have 100 penalties. I think 2.5 billion people watching on TV saw this was not a penalty. This was ridiculous and if we continue in this way we will have a circus."
"If that was a penalty, we don't need to play football any more. Let's play basketball. It's a shame. We talk about respect, but that wasn't respect – Croatia didn't get any. If that's how you start the World Cup, we'd all better give it up and go home."
Croatia defender Dejan Lovren reserved his ire for Nishimura's refusal—or inability—to explain himself.
"The ref didn't even speak English. I asked him why did he give the penalty and he just mumbled something. My teammates tell me the same thing – how can you have an international ref who is officiating the opening match, but he doesn't speak English and you can't even speak to him?"
We'd better get used to this sort of thing. The home-field advantage in soccer is very, very real, and favorable calls are just one of the way it manifests.