FIFA: Officials are not favouring Brazil

FIFA have dismissed claims officials are favouring Brazil in the World Cup following Thursday's controversial tournament opener.

Croatia players and manager Niko Kovac were furious after their 3-1 defeat in Sao Paulo.

The main bone of contention was referee Yuichi Nishimura's decision to award the Brazil a second-half penalty after a coming together between Dejan Lovren and Fred with the score 1-1.

That proved a turning point in the game, as Neymar converted from the spot before Oscar added a late third for the hosts, but FIFA have rubbished claims that the hosts are enjoying preferential treatment.

Thierry Weil, a spokesman for the governing body, said: "Here you are pretending something. I cannot let it stay like that. You are pretending FIFA is helping the host country which in my view is not the case.

"I have seen pictures from what happened; like Massimo (Busacca, the FIFA referees chief) said, it will be analysed. For sure here in the room you will have half say it was a penalty and the other half say it wasn't a penalty.

"We are talking here about a second of a decision, what the referee has to do. What we can guarantee you is that FIFA has nothing there to favour the host country."

Busacca, a former referee, added: "When you are on the pitch and you take a decision in one second, it is 'Team A' and 'Team B', 'Player A' and 'Player B'.

"You don't have time to think on the decision. You don't think, 'Aah I am in Brazil'. You do not have time - (it is) impossible."