World Cup 2014: 5 Most Controversial Moments from Quarter-Final Games
With the semi-final lineup at this summer’s FIFA World Cup now decided, we take a look back at the five most controversial moments from the clashes that took place on Friday and Saturday at Brazil 2014.
However, in the end, only two of the quarter-final ties produced any controversy, including these debatable incidents that took place in both Fortaleza and Salvador.
Why Was the Book Not Thrown at Fernandinho?
It was not so much a moment—more a series of moments (four of them to be precise) involving Brazil holding midfielder Fernandinho, who spent the vast majority of Friday night’s quarter-final with Colombia hacking down his opponents in Fortaleza.
Clearly the Manchester City water-carrier had been sent out onto the pitch at the Estadio Castelao with clear instructions from Selecao coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to disrupt the flow of Colombia’s quick-footed attacking players, chiefly playmaker James Rodriguez.
And boy, did Fernandinho not disappoint. The 29-year-old committed four rugged fouls during his 90-minute shift out of a total of 31 that the five-time world champions dished out as a team in what was a most un-Brazilian-like display from the host nation.
However, the really controversial aspect of this whole episode was that referee Carlos Carballo, who so infuriated Colombia throughout with his performance, decided not to book Fernandinho for some reason. As a result, the defensive midfielder has now made 10 fouls in Brazil’s previous two ties without somehow being cautioned.
Yet when Rodriguez made his first foul of the match to bring down Hulk midway through the second half and give away the free-kick from which David Luiz scored his sensational winning goal, the Spanish official needed no hesitation whatsoever in issuing the star of the World Cup with a yellow card.
Is fernandinho not allowed to get booked in this world cup?— Philip Neville (@fizzer18) July 4, 2014
Ref Justice for Colombia After Cesar Finds Himself in a Spot of Bother
When Colombia substitute Carlos Bacca was hacked down in the area by Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar with only 10 minutes remaining in Friday evening’s absorbing World Cup last-eight clash in Fortaleza, time suddenly stood still just for a moment as all eyes immediately switched to the man in the middle.
Not even the most one-eyed of Selecao fans amongst the 60,342 at the Estadio Castelao could deny that it was a penalty kick to Los Cafeteros; however, of more pressing concern to the home supporters was the colour of the card that referee Carlos Carballo was about to produce from his pocket.
Brazil may have been leading 2-0 at the time, but their grip on a place in the semi-finals would suddenly have looked less secure had they not only seen their lead cut in half but also their keeper dismissed for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.
And given that Sevilla striker Bacca had been played clean through on goal following a perfectly weighted pass by James Rodriguez in the lead-up to award of the spot-kick, many may agree with both Chris Waddle and the BBC South American Football correspondent Tim Vickery’s analysis of the incident in question.
“If it had been at the other end, it would have been red,” the former England international winger told the BBC World Cup highlights show, while Vickery said, “When I first saw it, I thought it was redder than red.”
In the end, however, the Spanish official deemed that centre-back David Luiz’s presence covering behind Cesar was enough to warrant the issuing of only a yellow card, and so the 11 men of Brazil were just about able to hang on and preserve their slender 2-1 lead.
That's a red card for Julio Cesar. So, of course, this referee gives him a yellow.— cathalkelly (@cathalkelly) July 4, 2014
Vlaar and Netherlands Fail to Pay the Ultimate Penalty
There’s no doubt that Costa Rica were more than a little unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty in their quarter-final clash with Netherlands in Salvador on Saturday night in an incident that the Central Americans will look back on as being the turning point.
With the tense contest moving toward half-time in extra time at the Arena Fonte Nova and the two sides still locked together without goals, Costa Rica substitute Marcos Urena chested down a throw-in before then running at Oranje centre-back Ron Vlaar in the right-hand channel of the penalty area.
As the striker drove toward the byline, though, the Aston Villa defender clearly caught Urena’s legs without making any contact whatsoever with the ball, upending the player in the process. Yet for some unknown reason, referee Ravshan Irmatov simply waved away the vehement Costa Rica protests.
However, to a man the BBC’s analysts working on the game were adamant that a spot-kick should have been awarded, with Alan Hansen even going as far as calling it “a stonewall penalty.”
Vlaar clipped Urena's heel and he goes down, but ref waves play on.... #NEDvsCRC— footballitalia (@footballitalia) July 5, 2014
'Incredible' Decision Spares Junior Diaz
Costa Rica performed heroically to take Netherlands all the way to a penalty shootout in their last-eight tie in Salvador on Saturday evening, although the Central Americans were indebted to referee Ravshan Irmatov for allowing them to keep 11 men on the field for extra time at the Arena Fonte Nova.
With the gripping quarter-final encounter entering injury time at the end of 90 minutes and the two sides unable to be separated on the scoresheet, Oranje wide man Arjen Robben picked up possession of the ball on the right wing deep in Costa Rica territory.
However, with the flying Dutchman running at pace toward his tiring opponents’ penalty area, Costa Rica defender Junior Diaz unceremoniously upended the twinkle-toed winger before he could cause any lasting damage to his team.
Fair enough, but with the player having already picked up a first-half booking, it seemed certain that the underdogs would be forced to play the whole of extra time with only 10 men, as they had done in their last-16 win over Greece.
Inexplicably, though, the man in the middle simply awarded Netherlands a free-kick right on the edge of the area. Guy Mowbray, commentating on the match for the BBC, at the time called the decision "incredible."
Junior Diaz, already booked, chops Robben... yellow? No! Very lucky not to be getting his marching orders there.— AS English (@English_AS) July 5, 2014
It's Krul on Costa Rica
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal rightly received much of the praise after Netherlands had overcome Costa Rica 4-3 on penalties to advance to the semi-finals of the World Cup on Saturday night following his brave call to introduce substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul specifically for the shootout.
However, while Krul proved correct that his manager’s pre-match belief that the Newcastle United No. 1’s greater reach via his 6'4" height could prove decisive come spot-kicks, the shot-stopper’s tactics during the penalty kicks left a bad taste in the mouth.
Krul made it a point to confront the Costa Rican players as they prepared to take their respective efforts, something his opposite number Keylor Navas felt no need to do. The Dutch keeper even shouted and gesticulated on some occasions in his opponents’ direction in an attempt to distract their focus.
And with the 26-year-old going on to save two of the five penalties he faced—including the key second from Bryan Ruiz after the Costa Rican captain had been forced to block out Krul’s attempts to put him off as he placed the ball on the spot—perhaps the custodian will claim his tactics worked a treat.
Danny Murphy, analysing the game for the BBC, clearly did not agree with what was happening at the Arena Fonte Nova, though. The former England and Liverpool midfielder said at the time, “Krul’s playing mind games there and I do not like that at all.”