Rio De Janeiro – Fifa defended Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura's controversial decision to award Brazil a penalty in the World Cup opening game but refused to confirm if he would officiate more games in the tournament.

Nishimura was widely criticised for awarding the game-changing penalty which put Brazil on the way to a 3-1 victory over Croatia on Thursday night. Other decisions also caused controversy.

But Fifa referees chief Massimo Busacca insisted Nishimura had been justified in awarding the spot-kick against Croatia's Dejan Lovren for an alleged push on Brazil striker Fred.

“He had a very good position,” said Busacca, referring to a photo of the incident which appeared to show Lovren's hands making contact with Fred.

“When he saw the hands doing something he makes it (the decision. This is to explain the referee's decision.

“If you play with the hands outside, If you make a contact, you permit the referee to go in one direction.”

However Busacca would not say if Nishimura would control further matches at the tournament.

“No it's impossible because we have not made an analysis yet,” he said. “We have to analyse the 90 minutes not one decision. We have to have clear analysis and then we will see.” – Sapa-AFP