Croatia had a chance to defeat or tie 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil in the opening game of the tournament on Thursday, but a questionable penalty kick decision changed the game as the Brazilians finished with a 3-1 win.
With the score tied 1-1 in the 71st minute, Brazilian forward Fred fell in the penalty box despite minimal contact from a Croatian defender. The referee awarded Brazil a penalty kick, which Neymar converted for his second goal of the game.
Croatian head coach Niko Kovac was very critical of the referee after the game, and called the penalty kick decision “ridiculous.”
In fairness to Kovac, Brazil was quite fortunate to receive a penalty kick. Fred clearly dove, no doubt about it.
Croatia’s next game is June 18 against African nation Cameroon.