Nishimura was the center of controversy after he awarded a penalty to Brazil in the 71st minute of the game, which Neymar converted to give the hosts a crucial 2-1 lead.

Croatia eventually lost 3-1 to the hosts after a strong start to the game as they had taken an early lead through Brazilian left back Marcelo’s own goal.

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.

His dubious performance not only angered the Croatian players and fans but the national media also tore into the Japanese referee.

Croatian daily Jutarnji accused Nishimura of robbing their national team of three crucial points against Brazil.

“Two years we fight for this and then someone robs us,” wrote Jutarnji.

Meanwhile, Zagreb-based Croatian tabloid accused the FIFA of doing injustice to their country in the ongoing World Cup.

“Croatian supporters – sheep sheared by Fifa,” it wrote.

While most of the newspaper coverage in Croatia focused on Nishimura’s contentious performance, only few were keen on giving a proper analysis of the game.

While also joined the chorus of blaming the referee for their team’s defeat against Brazil, it also offered few more reasons.

It praised Neymar’s stupendous performance and criticized team coach Niko Kovac’s tactics.

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


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