FutbolMLS.com Digest: Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari backs controversial PK decision
FutbolMLS.com is the go-to source for Spanish-language coverage of MLS and the upcoming World Cup, and every Friday we will be bringing you an English-language digest of the best content they have to offer.
1. PENALTY PROBLEMS: The decisive penalty given to Brazil by Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura on Thursday was one of the biggest talking points coming out of their World Cup opener against Croatia, but at least one man on the sideline was adamant Dejan Lovren’s tug on Fred was enough to warrant a spot kick.
“The referee saw a penalty, he is the one that decides, and we also thought it was a penalty,” Brazil head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, aka "Felipão," told reporters after the game. “I saw it 10 times on television and, for me, it was a penalty.”
Though Brazil also netted two goals from the run of play, the refereeing will certainly be a talking point as the tournament goes on, and Scolari (and Croatian counterpart Niko Kovac) are unlikely to be the only ones making their opinions heard about it.
2. MARACANAZO Pt. 2? Brazil are the favorites of many to hoist the World Cup at the Estadio Maracanã on July 13 and got off on the right foot. Part of the reason they are such popular picks is because they've been invincible at home, now unbeaten in 58 competitive matches on Brazilian soil since 1975.
One of their rare home defeats, though, was the infamous 1950 World Cup final, when Uruguay upset the Seleção at the Maracanã, a game that quickly picked up the moniker, "Maracanazo." Fast-forward 64 years, and FutbolMLS.com's David Ruiz lays out why we could be in store for another such shock.
- Get the latest World Cup headlines in Spanish from FutbolMLS.com
Given the team's quality and home-field advantage, many of the reasons come from within the Brazilian team and nation – they have often struggled as clear favorites, can get in their own heads in big moments, or maybe they are affected by the social unrest the nation is currently experiencing. Pick a reason, but maybe we shouldn't crown Brazil champions just yet?
3. FINGERS CROSSED FOR BONIEK: Honduras continue to hold their breath over the status of Houston Dynamo star Boniek García, who is facing a battle to be fit for the Catrachos' World Cup opener on Sunday against France.
That was the principal topic of discussion on the Tiro Libre podcast, and the crew was joined by Boniek himself, who admitted that he isn't yet 100 percent for Sunday's game, but is far from being ruled out.
Also appearing on the show is US international Alejandro Bedoya, who chatted about the USMNT's ambitions in Brazil and the absence of Landon Donovan from a World Cup for the first time since 1998.
4. FROM SALT LAKE TO SAMBA CENTRAL: It's a little surprising Joao Plata's excellent MLS form hasn't at least warranted a look from the Ecuadorian national team, but he'll be cheering them on all the same.
In the latest edition of "Hablando Con..." the RSL forward discusses his team's excellent start to the 2014 seson, their upcoming US Open Cup match against the Atlanta Silverbacks and, of course, the Ecuadorian national team's fortunes in Brazil.
- Get more RSL headlines from RealSaltLake.com
He'll actually be flying home for a couple days while La Tri play their first match, against Switzerland on Sunday, but he'll be his nation's biggest supporter from 35,000 feet up and beyond.
"I have faith in my national team and I believe they can get to the quarterfinals," he enthused about his team's chances. "Without a doubt, there are a lot of teams at a high level fighting for a spot. But we hope Eciador can advance to the quarterfinals."
5. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE: Just like MLSsoccer.com, FutbolMLS.com has been producing plenty of video content around the World Cup, focusing in particular on the CONCACAF's representatives in the World Cup – the USMNT, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras.
Be sure to check out the "Zona Mixta" group's debate at the top over who the surprise team of the World Cup will be – Belgium and Chile are popular choices. Also click through for team previews, including the United States, Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica, as well as a look at the four teams favored to win at all.