FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Brazil found themselves scratching their heads after a 1-0 loss to Peru that ended their Copa America Centenario campaign on Sunday evening, but saved most of their criticism for the Uruguayan officiating crew.
The lone goal of the game came on a controversial play that was brought up repeatedly in Brazil's postgame media session. The play in question occurred in the 75th minute, when Peru's Andy Polo crossed to the middle for teammate Raul Ruidiaz to bundle it in at close range. But replays clearly indicated that Ruidiaz used his hand to guide the ball towards the net, resulting in an outcry from the Brazilian players on the field.
“In a game that should have ended 0-0, one couldn’t understand why the assistant referee did not run towards the middle,” Dunga lamented. “One could not understand why they took four minutes to talk and did not reach an agreement…it was a clear hand ball, the assistant referee did not run towards the middle because he saw it.”
Andres Cunha, the center official, initially appeared to award to goal, but was his attention was quickly drawn to the assistant referee on the near side, who had not – according to Dunga – run back up the sideline to the center circle after the goal, as is normal procedure for assistant referees. After an extended discussion with both the assistant referee and fourth official, Cunha ultimately awarded the goal.
“Maybe it’s the first time in history that Brazil was eliminated by a goal scored with a hand, a hand ball that was so clear,” Dunga added. “And in this game it was not only the hand ball, in the start of the game there were some fouls, a penalty against Coutinho, with the referee close by.”
The shout against Coutinho was not the only penalty appeal Brazil had in a rough-and-tumble game, with Dani Alves also protesting furiously for a call after he appeared to be shoved from behind in the penalty area while driving to the byline in the early minutes of the game. Peru also had an appeal for a spot kick waved away by Cunha after Edison Flores appeared to be tripped just inside the penalty area in the 44th minute.
But ultimately, most of Dunga's issue rested with the decision to award Peru's goal, implying that video replay may have helped Cunha and his crew make the correct call.
“With all the technology, with all the camera angles, what causes me confusion is how we can make mistakes that are so clear, so evident,” Dunga added. “They consulted …what I cannot understand is that they were consulting, speaking with I don’t know who because I think they needed to speak among themselves, they didn’t need the communication via radio, microphone … What comes to mind is who was being consulted and in what way were they being consulted. It’s very strange.”