Algeria's national coach Vahid Halilhodzic. Photo: Lefty Shivambu


São Paulo - Algeria's national coach Vahid Halilhodzic has criticised World Cup referees ahead of his side's first game against Belgium on Tuesday, saying he fears refereeing mistakes more than the Red Devils.

“What happened in the game between Croatia and Brazil is a scandal,” he told Belgium's Het Nieuwsblad newspaper in remarks published on Saturday.

“I am more worried about the referee than about Belgium. Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura has been criticised for granting Brazil a penalty that allowed the hosts to make it 2-1 against Croatia in the tournament's opening game on Thursday.

World governing body Fifa has defended the decision, saying there was clear contact between a Brazilian striker and a Croatian defender in the box.

“It's a shame,” added Hlilhodzic, who is Bosnian.

“The big countries will always receive preferential treatment. Brazil, England, Germany ... I know Algeria is a small country. But I demand that we are treated in the same manner as the big countries.”

Algeria also face Russia and South Korea in Group H. - Sapa-dpa