The much-awaited FIFA World Cup 2014 began on Thursday but not without controversy. Host country, Brazil won the opening game against Croatia 3-1, in which its star player, Neymar scored two and Oscar one, but it was marred by a controversial decision made by the referee at a crutial stage.
Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura's decision in the 70th minute of the game on Thursday has drawn lots of flaks with Croats describing it as a "shame" and "scandal." Nishimura pointed to the spot after Brazilian forward, Fred went down inside the box following defender Dejan Lovren's minimal touch. Neymar took the penalty and found the net of Croat's goal keeper Stipe Pletikosa, taking his team to a 2-1 lead before Oscar scored one more to finish off the game in style.
"If anybody saw this was a penalty anywhere in the stadium, raise their hands. If you continue like this you will have 100 penalties," Croatia manager Niko Kovac said at the post-match press conference.
"If that was a penalty, we don't need to play football any more," he told Croatian broadcaster HTV. "Let's play basketball. It's a shame. We talk about respect, but that wasn't respect – Croatia didn't get any. If that's how you start the World Cup, we'd all better give it up and go home."
The controversy around FIFA World Cup 2014's opening game may remind many on some of the most controversial goals in the history of the tournament. Here are top four goals in the history of FIFA World Cup that shocked football fans:
1) England vs Germany in 1966: The title match was tied 2-2 after 90 minutes play. Put into extra time, Geoff Hurst found an opportunity from a close range. The ball hit the crossbar and bounced back, which presumably crossed the goal line. The referee ruled it a goal though the German players protested. The fact is nobody is certain whether the ball had crossed the goal line or not. England went on to win the match 4-2 and won the World Cup.
2) Argentina vs England in 1986: The infamous Maradona's "Hand of God" was talked about long after the tournament concluded. The Argentine not only shocked England goalkeeper, Peter Shilton but also the world by hitting the ball with his left fist into the net in the second half of the game. It might look like header to many but it was a clear handball. The referee and his assistant didn't see the foul and goal was awarded. Maradona went on to score a superb goal to help his team wil 2-1.
3) Brazil vs Sweden in 1978: Brazil were awarded a corner in the final minute of the game. Zico got a header and sent the ball into the net. Even as the celebrations began, referee Clive Thomas cancelled the goal, claiming that Zico's header came after he blew the final whistle. The match ended in a draw with 1-1 scoreline following the controversial call by the referee.
4) France vs Kuwait in 1982: The French team was in terrific touch, completely outplaying their opponents. However, the Kuwait's Football Association president and his colleagues started protesting on the ground after a goal was awarded to France. The Kuwait defenders were believed to have stopped the play on hearing the whistle, presumably came from the crowd. The referee changed his decision and cancelled the goal following protest. France still went on to win the game 4-1.