Croatia's Dejan Lovren, center, pleads his case to referee Yuichi Nishimura, whose penalty call provided Brazil with a chance to take the lead in the teams' World Cup opener.
Adam Pretty/Getty Images
By Josh Sanchez
June 13, 2014

In the 2014 FIFA World Cup opener, Brazil's 3-1 win over Croatia was marred with some controversy. In the 69th minute, referee Yuichi Nishimura handed Croatia defender Dejan Lovren a yellow card following a foul in the box. 

In real time the foul looked questionable, but in slow motion it was confirmed that Brazilian forward Fred took an obvious flop. Neymar went on to convert the penalty kick attempt for the game-winning goal.

After the game, the controversial call did not sit well with the Croatian team and Lovren told the Agence France Presse that FIFA should just "give the World Cup to Brazil straight away."

"What can I say? I'm sad, I want to cry. Everyone saw that. It's a scandal for FIFA. They talk about respect, they have meetings before the World Cup, FIFA people talk to us, and in the end, what happens? It's better they give the World Cup to Brazil straight away," Lovren said.

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"I think we played well, and showed that we have the qualities to match Brazil, but not against 12 players. We now have to keep our heads up. I am sure than we can go through, but I still don't understand how the referee could have given that. We saw the pictures in the dressing room after the game and everyone is still asking themselves that question."

Lovren wasn't the only Croatian player to have an issue with the call. 

Fellow defender Vedran Corluka shared his thoughts on the foul and echoed Lovren's comments that FIFA should just give Brazil the Cup.

"If this continues, I think no one should play against Brazil," Corluka told Yahoo Sports. "We can just give them the World Cup and everyone can go home. [Nishimura] shouldn't be allowed to referee another game."

Croatia's next outing in the World Cup will come on Wednesday, June 18, against Cameroon at Arena Amazônia in Manaus.

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