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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Japan Stakes Brazil To World Cup Victory

How the hell can Japan—a country not yet having played a game in the 2014 World Cup of soccer have played an instrumental role in handing the host nation a victory?

That photo up above should tell you.

Japanese J-League soccer referee Nishimura Yuichi (surname first) called a controversial penalty shot against Croatia which, when Brazil scored, changed the balance of a game that was closely contested, ending up as a 3-1 victory for Brazil.

The play in question came about in the 70th minute in a 1-1 tie, when Nishimura called a penalty shot against Croatian defender Dejan Lovern after he lightly touched Brazil star striker Fred (yes… just Fred).

Feeling the contact, "Right," said Fred, and down he dropped onto what I assume was the green grass as though he had been shot by a firing squad.

Perhaps fearing for Fred's life, Nishimura called for a penalty shot, allowing Brazilian Neymar to place the shot perfectly for a 2-1 lead.

That changed things because now Croatia has to play more aggressively - to hell with defense - to try and score the equalizer, which can often backfire - and it did - allowing Brazil to score again later for the 3-1 final.

At the time if the incident, said Croatian player Vedran Corluka to the media, Nishimura DID try and provide an explanation for his call, but only would do so in Japanese.

If that's not enough to make one swear of wanting to give up eating daikon radishes and watching Pokemon, he later failed to give a red card (instant ejection and one-man short for the game) to Neymar for earlier elbowing Ivica Olic in the face - only receiving a yellow card, and then later disallowed a Croatian goal.

The yellow versus red card is always a matter of dispute, and was the correct call at the time, but thanks to hindsight being 20/20, it appears that it was the wrong call, considering the red card would have meant Neymar wouldn't have been the one taking the penalty kick.

As for the disallowed goal, I feel your pain Croatia, but is was probably the correct call as well.

You did get screwed on the diving antics of Fred, however, whose real name probably has 15 names made up entirely of vowels with no consonants.

Okay... despite being known everywhere by that name, Fred's full name is merely Frederico Chaves Guedes - and has 17 goals for Brazil in 33 international appearances... a goal scorer, to be sure... but come on...

Fred... Brazil's ass-clown.
You can see the afterimage of Fred looking for a penalty after someone exhaled near him. (Photo from Getty Images).

I'm afraid there are no videos of this, as FIFA doesn't like anyone else to re-view its games unless it gets a piece of the action.

As you can see from the image above, Fred has landed perfectly from his dismount, and is awaiting the judges scores for artistic performance (It was a 9.8) (Nothing beats the Hand of God by Argentina's Maradona).

Nishimura has been an international referee since 2004.

At the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations, Nishimura was shoved by Angolan players during a quarterfinal match with Egypt. He deigned NOT to send any of them off, and did not participate in any further games in the tourney.

In a 2010 Club World Cup match (tournament for the champion clubs from each of FIFA's six continental confederations), Congo (Congolese) fans became pissed off at Nishimura's poor refereeing, and took revenge on the Japanese referee by vandalizing a Chinese restaurant back in the Congo. Close enough, right?

I suppose it's tough being a referee.

Back in the 1970s, my father was a referee in Toronto for a semi-pro league, usually getting the no-win job have having to officiate games by the Serbia White Eagle (or was it White Lions) versus the Croatian White Lions (or was it White Eagles).

My father who is a brown, skinny dude weighing 130-lbs then and now:
  • would have to run for his life jumping fences to get to his car from the Croatian fans if Serbia won;
  • would have to run for his life jumping fences to get to his car from the Serbian fans if Croatia won;
  • or god help him, would have to fun for his life jumping fences to get to his car from the Croatian and Serbian fans if it was a tie match. 
He said they would sometimes come after him with bricks and crowbars. My dad was a lot quicker than even he though he was.

You only think I'm joking. I'm not.

A couple of years later when Yugoslavia got the Winter Olympics (the IOCC always seems to give the Olympics to countries that fully deserve it... riiiiight), I was amazed considering how every sports fan and politico seemed to hate the other ethnicities within their own border—a fact proven out during the Croatian War of Independence of 1991-1995 with as much genocide as one would expect.

Strangely enough, two people I know who were born in what was then Yugoslavia and now live in Toronto simply can't understand the hatred some people had there, as they had plenty of friends from each ethnicity and didn't hate.

Back to Japanese referees.

In the 1998 World Cup, Japanese referee Okada Masayoshi (surname first) was sent home in disgrace by FIFA after refereeing a single game between England and Tunisia (2-0 Brits).

Oh well… it's just another embarrassment for poor Brazil (the country), which looks like a beautiful country with beautiful people… but Brazil had months of protests and strikes that made FIFA wonder if it had been paid off by the right country.

FIFA is wondering if it could be true that there are also allegations of corruption in its awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar—not exactly a hot bed of soccer fervor, but certainly a hot bed of dirty (oily) money that will have players dying of heat stroke regardless of what time of year the games are played, along with FIFA not giving a carp about national leagues possibly having to halt play in the middle of a season as it contemplates moving the timing of the World Cup in Qatar.

Let's see… even though it wasn't going to schedule games at this time of year in Qatar, what would the temperature be today (Friday), June 13, 2014? Oh… it's only 32ºC (89.6ºF) at 9PM… after a high of 42ºC (107.6ºF). It will cool down to 41ºC (105.8ºF) for the weekend, however… and if I may point out, this is with it being partially cloudy. Next Friday, as a sunny day, it's supposed to be 44ºC (111.2ºF).

By the way… on May 28, 2014, it was 48ºC (118.4ºF)… now image global warming kicking in over the next eight years. Hell, we can hold World Cup pools to see how many people will die during a match, a day, round-robin and over-all tourney death total. I'm sure we can also try and name an MVD (most valuable deceased) person at the event.

Okay, okay... I hear Qatar might have out-door air-conditioning at the venues, or they could just build domed stadia to benefit everyone and to keep the grass for having to be painted green, like they had to do in Brazil this week.  

Anyhow… Japan… we know you already feel some embarrassment for Nishimura's actions (inactions), but don't. It's just one referee getting fooled by some Brazilian nut named Fred.

Andrew Fred Joseph

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