Brazil hit back at Chile's referee concerns
Brazil have lashed out at Chile for questioning the integrity of English referee Howard Webb, branding doubts aired by their last-16 opponents as "primitive and immature".
Webb (above), who took charge of the 2010 World Cup final, will be the man in the middle in Belo Horizonte tonight, when Brazil face Chile in the second round.
But Webb's appointment has been questioned by Chile star Alexis Sanchez and the head of the Chile Football Association, who fear he may be influenced by the huge home support.
"The only thing I fear is the refereeing," said Sanchez on Thursday, when asked about the prospect of facing the tournament hosts.
However, when Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was asked to offer his thoughts during yesterday's eve-of-game press conference, Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) press officer Rodrigo Paiva intervened.
"To talk about this subject is primitive and immature. Applying this kind of pressure is ridiculous," he said.
"Not only is it disrespectful towards Fifa, the referee and the Brazil team with their 100-year history of winning, but it is also disrespectful towards the people of Brazil.
"Brazil do not need the referee in order to win titles.
"The Brazilian team and people deserve more respect."
Concerns that World Cup referees might favour the host country were first raised, when Japanese official Yuichi Nishimura awarded Brazil a dubious penalty that helped them to a 3-1 win over Croatia in the competition's opening game.
Webb was also in charge when Brazil beat Chile 3-0 at the same stage of the tournament in 2010. - AFP.