Germany coach Joachim Low has called on Mexican referee Marco Antonio Rodriguez to crack down on “brutal” fouls in today’s semi-final with hosts Brazil.
Low highlighted the Brazil v Colombia quarter-final where Neymar suffered a fractured vertebrae and Colombia’s James Rodriguez was the victim of a number of nasty fouls – there were 54 fouls in total in the game, 31 committed by Brazil.
Low told a press conference: “I hope the referee will clamp down on things. That physical energy in the match against Colombia went beyond the limits in Europe. When I saw that match... in Europe, 22 players wouldn’t have ended that match.
“There were brutal fouls. People blocking opponents however they could. It was really exaggerated. That’s what we saw on the pitch, so I hope these really brutal and crude fouls are stopped, or we won’t see players like [Lionel] Messi, [Mesut] Ozil or Neymar, and we’ll just see players who go out to destroy.
“Colombia against Brazil was a real fight with numerous fouls from both sides, not just the one foul against Neymar, but many others as well.
“Players have been warned what would earn them a yellow or a red card but you saw in the Colombia match many fouls from behind which were really dangerous for the players. You have to protect the players when you’re a referee.”
Low has dismissed any notion that the absence of Neymar will mortally wound Brazil’s hopes and said he was “awfully sorry” the Barcelona star’s serious injury will keep him out.
He added: “You shouldn’t believe the absence of Neymar or Thiago Silva will be a big disadvantage for Brazil. Dante won’t deliver a bad match against Germany. He’s an excellent player, and others will feel invigorated.
“You’ve seen teams lose some players and others accept the responsibility. They’ll be on the pitch fighting for Neymar and the nation to make sure they reach the final.
“We are awfully sorry for Neymar and the Brazilian team, he has been injured in a terrible situation, and we would have delighted to have seen him on the pitch, we wish him all the very best for a speedy recovery.”
Spain’s early exit from the World Cup has seen Germany overtake them to become the world No 1 in FIFA’s rankings.