For Bellicose Brazil, Payback Carries Heavy Price: Loss of Neymar.
UPDATE: FIFA picked the ref because he threw very few yellows. So they bear some blame because the ref knew that if he showed too many yellows he would not get picked to call the final. It was not money involved in the ref tanking the game. It was FIFA.
It was an ugly, cynical game. It is the referee’s job to control the game. He called something like 54 fouls but only gave 3 yellows, one for a technicality, not a challenge. Brazil crushed James Rodriquez with little consequence. He gave a yellow to Rodriquez for a first time innocuous foul yet several Brazil players commit 5 or more horrible fouls without a card.
The referee list serv was not happy with the referee’s game even while it was happening. In a physical game with lots of fouls, the proper response is not simply to let it continue to escalate until someone is hurt. Because eventually the players will take justice into their own hands.
Brazil decided to sow a physical game and reaped the loss of their best player. Because the referee did not perform at a world-class level.
A few yellow cards early would have changed the complexion of the game. For the better. And Neymar might still be healthy.
The referee is the only one who has the power to prevent such play. He did not and it became more rugby than soccer.
I am sorry to see Neymar out. But the failure of the referee to control the physicality of the game (most fouls in the Cup so far and he did not even call the kick on Neymar a foul), a physicality initiated by the Brazilians, resulted in some payback. Everyone knows that is what will happen which is why the referee cannot lose control.
It is never a good thing when you read the referee’s name in a game summary. Shame on Velasco Carballo.