Chile has spoken out regarding refereeing decisions in the opening rounds of the World Cup, appealing to Howard Webb, who is in charge of Saturday’s knockout game against Brazil, to make sure the officiating is fair.
Forward Alexis Sánchez said, “I am very happy to be playing against the hosts, against the best defence in the world, a team with impressive quality — but what most worries me is the refereeing.”
The hosts have benefited from two very controversial decisions. The first was when, with the score tied, Fred went down under a light challenge from Dejan Lovren, earning Brazil a penalty that put them ahead of Croatia. Fred was also at the center of the other contentious decision, when his seemingly offside goal against Cameroon was allowed to stand.
Chile was also none too thrilled about the decisions made against them in their final game of the group stages, which ultimately ended in a 2-0 draw. As midfielder Arturo Vidal said, “We are a little unhappy with how the game went against Netherlands. We had the ball and we did everything, but there was no luck. The refereeing was not balanced. The refereeing in the last 16 will be important — we hope it is balanced then.”
Brazil, meanwhile, feel that Chile speaking out against the officiating is “disrespectful” to their country. Rodrigo Paiva, the director of communications at the Brazilian Football Federation, said:
Talking about this is not a lack of respect towards FIFA, or to the referee himself or to the Brazilian Selecao or to the people who work here in a very serious manner for a country with 100 years of football history and a winning history — it is a lack of respect to the Brazilian people.Brazil doesn’t need a referee to win the match, and you should respect a little bit more the Brazilian Selecao and the Brazilian people.
Brazil meets Chile at 12 noon ET. It sounds as though we’re in for a feisty first match of the knockout rounds.