Croatia lost to Brazil 3-1 in an opening World Cup match filled with controversies. Nothing provoked more controversy than the yellow card Dejan Lovren received after Brazil striker Frederico Chaves Guedes went down.
“But if it is like this, then we can give the World Cup directly to Brazil,” Lovren said after the game. “It is not just difficult for me to take, but for everyone who watched this game. I think it was two billion people. I think it is a shame. A big shame for this mistake. I cannot agree with this.”
“Of course I am angry. I want to cry now but what can you do? If you saw the game you saw everything so I don’t need to explain.”
The referee was Japan’s Yuichi Nishimura and Lovren called into question his ability to referee games due to his lack of ability to speak English.
“I was asking the referee how can you do this to us?” he said. “And then it was a shame. He didn’t know what to say. The problem is that the referee doesn’t speak English. It is a shame that he cannot explain to me or to anyone else in English. How can any referee be in the World Cup for that?”
Teammate Vedran Corluka agreed with Lovren and unloaded to the reporters about his disappointment in the game.
“I think it is embarrassing,” offered Corluka. “I think if this continues then no one should play against Brazil. We should just give them the World Cup and everyone can go home.”
While Lovren was not too sure the referee favored Brazil, Corluka maintained that they did.
“Everyone saw that, not just Croatian players,” he said. “Every 50/50 decision went to Brazilian players and I think Neymar elbowed Luca (Modric). After that he gives the penalty. We scored a goal, he disallowed a goal. It was quite embarrassing. Because it was the opening of the World Cup and you expect something more. He was keen to give the penalty, it happens, it is over now. After that he wanted to give something to us, it was quite funny. I don’t think he should be allowed to referee another game.”
Corluka agreed with Lovren over Nishimura’s communications deficiencies.
“I don’t blame them [Brazil] but I have never seen a referee in a World Cup that doesn’t speak English. It is quite, I don’t know how to say it, amazing. He was trying to speak to the players in Japanese. It is ridiculous,” he claimed. “He was speaking Japanese but no one could understand him because we don’t have Japanese players.”