Croatia boss blasts referees after World Cup opener loss against Brazil

Croatia manager Niko Kovac has blasted the refereeing decisions which allowed Brazil to triumph 3-1 in the World Cup opener, Sky Sports reports.

With the game tied at 1-1, Dejan Lovren was judged by Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura to have brought down Fred in the penalty area, which was duly converted by Neymar.

Croatia were looking to spoil the Brazilian party after a cross from Ivica Olic hit Marcelo before tumbling into his own goal, but Neymar’s left foot strike levelled the game.

The controversial incident took place on the 70th minute as Fred seemed to tumble with the slightest contact from Southampton defender Lovren, before Oscar added a third in extra time.

And Kovac was extremely unhappy with the performance of the referees.

He said: “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 2.5billion 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.

“Fred is an 85kg man and I don’t believe he can be brought to the ground in such a manner.

“I cannot blame Fred at all – everyone tries it on. Like it or not, this is part and parcel of football.

“What I want is for referees to stick to the laws of the game and apply them equally to both teams.”