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Scolari criticises Webb over Neymar treatment

Monday, June 30, 2014 by Telegraph.co.uk

Neymar working hard to be fit for Brazil's World Cup quarter-final against Colombia after suffering thigh injury

Luiz Felipe Scolari's criticism of Howard Webb for not protecting Neymar and the rest of the Brazil team is unfounded as English referee had an excellent game

Hop-a-long: Neymar now faces a battle to be fit to face Colombia

Brazil are working overtime to get Neymar fit for their World Cup quarter-final against Colombia in Fortaleza on Friday. Brazil’s No 10 suffered bruising to his thigh early on against Chile in their round of 16 meeting in Belo Horizonte but did complete extra time and did convert his penalty in the shoot-out.

Neymar required treatment after 28 minutes following challenges from Arturo Vidal, Gary Medel and particularly Charles Aránguiz.

"We couldn’t understand how somebody hits with that strength and gets no card," said Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari of what he perceived was a lack of protection for his star player from the English referee, Howard Webb.

"Some people say Neymar falls too easily. He fell three times. There were 15 fouls on [Chile’s Alexis] Sánchez and after 12 he went down.

"We always see how hesitant referees are when it comes to Brazil. If we are going to be champions it can’t be like this, it has to be the same for everyone. We’re starting to doubt that. We have four or five days to get Neymar in shape for the next match. It is a big problem, his thigh is swollen.”

Scolari’s criticism is misplaced. Webb, who oversaw Brazil’s 3-0 win against Chile in the 2010 finals, actually had a magnificent match in Estadio Mineirao, keeping the game flowing, keeping up with the high-speed play, and getting the major calls right. He was assisted brilliantly by Darren Cann, the former Crystal Palace reserve, and particularly Mike Mullarkey from Exeter.

Mullarkey assisted Webb in making the most important decision of the game, spotting that Hulk had handled before putting the ball in Chile’s net. Hulk and Brazil’s fans were outraged but replays confirmed the decision was right.

Webb’s was one of the best all-round officiating displays of this World Cup, raising expectations of the trio being given one of the prestige later games, although they are unlikely to get the final having done it in 2010.

Fifa is considering action against the Brazilian confederation spokesman, Rodrigo Paiva, over an alleged confrontation with Mauricio Pinilla, the Chilean striker, on the sidelines at half-time.

"There has been an incident and the disciplinary committee are currently analysing the matter,” said Delia Fischer, the Fifa spokeswoman Delia Fischer. Paiva said he reacted in self-defence.

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