Yaya Toure has launched an astonishing attack on referee Carlos Vera, blaming him for Ivory Coast’s World Cup elimination at the hands of Greece.
The Manchester City midfielder called it “a scandal” and went on to claim that no-one has made a fuss about the late penalty decision because “who really cares about the injustices of an African team”?
His comments about Ecuadorian official Vera will attract the attention of world governing body Fifa and could lead to disciplinary action. Ivory Coast were drawing 1-1 with Greece, a result that would have seen them reach the last 16 for the first time in their history, when after 92 minutes, Vera penalised Giovanni Sio for a challenge on Georgios Samaras, who went on to convert the penalty.
“In the space of a few seconds, our dream became a nightmare,” Toure explained.
“I desperately wanted the referee (the Ecuadorian Carlos Vera) to spot the simulation of Samaras. Once again, the refereeing was not on our side.
“We had at least two penalties turned down during our game against Japan. And this time, one is invented against Greece. Of course, it does not upset anyone because it only concerns an African team. Who really cares about the injustices of an African team? This mistake deprives us of something huge.
“It is a scandal that unfortunately does not seem to bother many people.”
Toure, speaking to France Football magazine, accepted that the Ivorians had been naive not to kill off the game before then.
“I don’t especially want to be the one who hides behind excuses,” he continued. “Of course we were naive. Of course Greece took advantage. Of course we are also guilty. Of course we should not have put ourselves in danger so close to the end of the match.
“This result is a reflection of what we have experienced with this generation for several years. On many occasions we have gone close. But each time, we miss out. This is a generation of great misfortune. It’s the ‘nearly’ generation.”
Toure caused a storm last week by claiming that Manchester City had turned down his request to miss the end-of-season trip to Abu Dhabi to celebrate the title success so he could spend time with his brother Ibrahim, who died two weeks ago. That tragedy, coupled with the World Cup disappointment, has left him needing time off.
“I would have liked to go further. I will get through this World Cup like a ghost. Never 100%, I gave everything I could, but sometimes it was not enough. I admit that I’m completely drained. Worn out. Both physically and mentally. All these emotions on top of each other have totally exhausted me. I am out of energy. After the World Cup, I will take myself away from it all for a while.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved