Webb will not spin match in Brazil’s favour
BRAZIL have brushed off claims in the Chilean media that English referee Howard Webb might favour the hosts in the all-south American showdown in Belo Horizonte today.
Webb was also the man in charge when Brazil beat Chile 3-0 at the same stage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. There was no controversy in that game – in fact the only criticism of Webb was that he might have awarded Brazil a penalty – but none the less media outlets in Chile fear the hosts will get an easy ride.
That feeling has been doing the rounds since the opening match of the tournament against Brazil when the hosts were awarded a penalty by Japanese official Yuichi Nishimura for what was a blatant dive by Fred.
Brazil team spokesman Rodrigo Paiva said any such suggestions were disrespectful and “immature”.
He said: “This kind of pressure I think is ridiculous. Brazil don’t need a referee to win the match and you should respect a little bit more the Brazilian national team and the Brazilian people.”
Meanwhile, Luiz Felipe Scolari, the coach, is under growing pressure to pick Fernandinho in his starting line-up. Scolari’s side looked unconvincing in long spells in their Group A games, but their best period came in the second half of the 4-1 win over Cameroon when Fernandinho was sent on – he scored and created another – for Tottenham’s Paulinho.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing in the World Cup and wearing the Selecao jersey, but I knew how difficult that was, what with me playing in Ukraine for Shakhtar,” said the Manchester City player.
“Last year, though, when I moved to England and began playing in a much bigger league with a much higher profile, I could see things coming together for me.
“I fought hard, chased my dream and got the call-up for the friendly with South Africa in March.
“Everything I did from June 2013 onwards was with the goal of making it here to the World Cup.”