Japanese fans join ref-bashing

Japanese football fans hung their heads in shame on Thursday after referee Yuichi Nishimura’s controversial performance in the World Cup opener helped Brazil to a 3-1 win over Croatia, further clouding FIFA’s showpiece tournament.

Social media in Japan lit up after the official’s decision to give a soft penalty to Brazil which changed the balance of the closely fought match. Several posts showed mocked-up photos of Nishimura wearing a Brazil jersey.

“There’s a lot of Nishimura bashing but quite right,” tweeted @shinokc. “That was not a penalty. Feel so sorry for Croatia.”

Echoing the sentiments of Croatia’s furious coach Niko Kovac, who claimed Nishimura had been out of his depth, @sanadamasayuki2 commented: “It’s a tough job for us dithering Japanese.”

Anticipating further backlash, @tonbuhin tweeted: “Oh dear, if Brazil win the World Cup the whole world will say Nishimura was the MVP (most valuable player).”

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