Football

Silva: Penalty controversy in earlier game cost us

The furore surrounding Brazil's controversial penalty against Croatia influenced referee Cuneyt Cakir's decision not to award the hosts a penalty in their goalless World Cup Group A draw with Mexico.

That was the verdict of Brazil captain Thiago Silva (above).

Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura awarded Brazil a contentious penalty when Fred fell in the box during the World Cup opener last Friday prompting outcry from fans, pundits and players.

Croatia coach Nico Kovac said after the game: "If that's a penalty, we don't need to play football anymore. Let's play basketball instead."

Thiago said that the hullabaloo surrounding that incident led to Brazil being denied a spot-kick yesterday when Marcelo went down in the box under a challenge from Raul Jimenez in the 88th minute.

At the post-match press conference, the defender said: "Last match, as soon as I showed up, the first question I was asked was about the referee.

"Today, that same question only came after 10 others.

"Against Croatia everybody was talking about the penalty. But today, from where I was, from the back, I saw that it was a penalty (against Marcelo).

"But I don't like to talk about those things.

"However, it's good that you guys mention it a little bit, because if you think about it, the repercussions of Fred's penalty might have influenced today.

"I have no doubts about that.

"If it hadn't been spoken about so loudly, maybe today we would've had a penalty."

Despite the Paris Saint-Germain man's disappointment, his teammate Fred said Brazil's struggles against Mexico should come as no surprise.

"We had expected difficulties," Fred told Brazilian newspaper O Globo.

"(At the 2013) Confederations Cup we won with (a) late goal in a very open game.

"Today's game was more open and the goal did not come. But we have to congratulate their goalkeeper who produced four miracles.

"We are looking for change and improvement to start scoring goals again."

Winger Bernard, who replaced Ramires at half-time, said that the improvement needed was that Brazil had to be "calmer with the ball".

He said: "I think these are situations (of nervousness in exchanging passes) that happen sometimes.

"We have the ability to be calmer with the ball. It has been like that at the (Confederations) Cup. We found the pass but lacked the finishing touch.''

- Wire Services.

World Cup