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Croatia upset at referee’s inability to communicate during match with Brazil

Jun 14, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

croatia AP

Prior to kickoff at the start of the second half of Brazil – Croatia on Thursday, the cameras showed Luka Modrić chatting with Yuichi Nishimura. Or at least, it looked as though the Croatian midfielder and the Japanese referee were chatting. Having played with Tottenham before moving to Real Madrid, Modrić can almost certainly get by in English and Spanish, as well as his native Croatian tongue.

However, according to teammate Vedran Corluka, the referee wasn’t speaking English – or any other international language. The centerback said:

We were quite simply shocked with the fact that he communicated with us in Japanese all the time. It is just hard to fathom that an official who speaks no English or any other international language was allowed to be in charge of the World Cup’s opening match.

It’s hard to believe Nishimura is unable to communicate in English. He officiated two World Cup matches in South Africa in 2010, and also took charge of the Club World Cup later in the year. As his two World Cup matches each involved a sending-off of players (Nicolás Lodeiro of Uruguay and Felipe Melo of Brazil) it would seem that someone would’ve cottoned on once player protestations were involved.

In fact, viewing FIFA’s “Meet the Referees” video series, it’s clear that Nishimura can, in fact, speak English. The pauses and hesitation, however, suggest that perhaps it may not be easy for him to do so, or at least not when tensions are high.

It may be a valid complaint that FIFA should address. However, FIFA being FIFA, it’s also unlikely that they’ll change their ways.

  1. talgrath - Jun 15, 2014 at 4:19 AM

    Finding a ref that can speak the language of both sides in a match at a tournament like this would be impossible. Yes, English is a very popular language it is hardly the only one in the world; and it’s not like player or coach protests ever actually influence things. It’s almost unheard of for a penalty call to get overturned. You don’t need to speak English to make the right calls, the ref screwed up but language has nothing to do with it.

  2. godsholytrousers - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    FIFA = Fraud

    That FIFA would protect their Pets in their home country should not surprise anyone. Did you watch the Confederations Cup?

    When is the last time you saw Brazil win a game where they were not up a player or two thanks to Red Cards?

    When is the last time you saw Brazil win a game without a Penalty Kick in their favor?

    Now add the final nail in the coffin, FIFA have decided to let Brazil aggressively foul any and all opponents with no protection for their safety. Neymar lit that Croatian player up with a pre-meditated elbow to the face, and he got a yellow card. Anybody else in the world would have been given a Red and a multiple game suspension. Same happened in the Confederations Cup last summer.

    • godsholytrousers - Jun 15, 2014 at 11:37 AM


  3. dolphincult - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    waaaaaaaah! soccer babies always crying or laying on the pitch

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