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World Cup 2014: On Mistakes, in Translation

June 13, 2014

Even if you’re not much of a World Cup fan and missed the opening 2014 match of host-country Brazil vs. Croatia, then you may still have heard the complaining. Worldwide there’s lots of attention in social media given to the poor officiating. Referee Yuichi Nishimura (Japanese League Referee of the Year for 2009 and for 2010 and Asian Football Confederation Men’s Referee of the Year for 2012) made terrible calls that may have affected the outcome of the game unnecessarily. Here’s some of the response:

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese football fans took to social media Friday to express regret and shame over referee Yuichi Nishimura’s contentious ….


SAO PAULO — Looking surprisingly stylish and astoundingly composed for a coach who had just labored through more than 90 minutes of excruciatingly competitive soccer, and lost on a lousy call, Croatia’s Niko Kovac smirked at the first question presented to him, in English. He chose to respond in his native language, which was a bit of a shame for those of us who do not speak it.

Because the translation is never quite the same. And still his 3-minute response crackled with criticism of the match referee, Yuichi Nishimura, who awarded a dubious penalty to a Brazil side that couldn’t find any other way to win in the opener of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at Arena de Sao Paulo.

“If that’s a penalty, we don’t need to play more football. Let’s play basketball,” Kovac said. “It’s a shame. We are working hard, we come to the World Cup, and then we come to a referee that is not worthy of that level.”….


Zagreb: Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura has come under fire from all angles for awarding the penalty that allowed Neymar to give Brazil the lead against Croatia in the World Cup opener….

The Croatian media reacted angrily on Friday after Brazil won the match 3-1.

“Injustice!” “Shame!” and “Referee shamelessly broke the Fiery Ones (Vatreni – the team’s nickname)!” read the front page headlines as they lamented an “invented penalty.”
The press gave great play too to Croat coach Niko Kovac’s comments to Croatian state-run HRT television that: “If that was a penalty then we should not play football anymore!”


This morning Nishimura would also have woken up to his [English language] Wikipedia profile having been changed.

Nishimura woke up to see his Wikipedia page changed – it was later changed back

The prankster called Nishimura a “Brazilian” referee and also added: “His very unorthodox upbringing gave him eyes with which he can’t see if someone plays with their head, hand or leg…”

The entry was quickly changed but the official, who sent off Felipe Melo in Brazil’s 2010 World Cup quarter-final defeat against the Netherlands, would still have been left embarrassed.

and at least one moment today here’s the wikipedia entries on Yuichi Nishimura’s performance yesterday, in English, and in Japanese, and in Croatian, and in Portuguese:

2014 FIFA World Cup

Nishimura was chosen by FIFA to referee the opening game between BrazilCroatia of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[4] The game ended with a 3-1 victory for Brazil, while there were several difficult and controversal Nishimura’s decisions, like a controversial penalty awarded to Brazil with the score at 1-1,[5] and the disallowed Croatia equaliser for 2-2.[6]

Nishimura was chosen as the referee for the opening game at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[4] Many commentators perceived several errors in favour of hosts Brazil, and Nishimura’s performance received negative reviews.[7][8][9][10][11] In the same match, Nishimura also became the first referee to use Vanishing spray at a World Cup Finals.[12]


2014年6月12日(現地時間)に行われた2014 FIFAワールドカップ・グループAの初戦(開幕戦)、ブラジルの旗 ブラジル – クロアチアの旗 クロアチア戦(6月12日、アレーナ・デ・サンパウロ)の主審を務めたが、この試合の後半24分(69分)、ブラジルのFWフレッジがクロアチアDFデヤン・ロブレンを背負ってエリア内で倒れた。西村はこのプレーに対してPKを宣告、これをFWネイマールが決めてこの試合の決勝点となった。この判定について、ロブレンの手がフレッジにかかって倒されたようにも、フレッジが自分から転んだよう(=シミュレーションの反則)にも見えたことから議論を呼ぶこととなり[17]、イタリアの新聞「ガゼッタ・デロ・スポルト」が2014年6月13日付の紙面で「2-1のPKをプレゼントしたことに議論がある」「主審のミスは大きかった」「このレベルの試合で許されないことが待っていた。ロブレンのフレッジへのPKはなかった」と報じ[18]、元イングランド代表ゲーリー・リネカーが自身のTwitterで「It’s a tight call for Brazil’s man of the match between Neymar and the Referee」(開幕戦のマン・オブ・ザ・マッチは、ネイマールと主審のどちらを選ぶのか難題だ)と皮肉めいたツイートを発信する[19]など、批判が相次いだ。

Stvori Yuichi Nishimura

Participou da Copa do Mundo FIFA 2014, juntamente com os assistentes Toru Sagara do Japão e Toshiyuki Nagi também do Japão.

Portuguese and Croatian wikipedia entry writers seem to be away on twitter and facebook.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2014 12:26 pm

    Kurk, is Suzanne okay?

    (Not much of a sports fan, even with your linguistic insights…)


  2. June 16, 2014 2:43 pm


    She is quite okay, I would imagine, even with the news that the Men’s World Cup goes on without Canada. The under-20 Women’s World Cup 2014 is in Canada soon with Canada. And the Women’s World Cup 2015 is also to be in Canada, and the host country qualifies automatically.

  3. July 2, 2014 6:22 pm

    The world watched Belgium beat the USA yesterday, and many heard earlier this week how the US coach Jürgen Klinsmann (from Germany) said in English that FIFA may have made a mistake in choosing Djamel Haimoudi (from Algeria) since he would be able to speak with the Belgian players in French (implying that Americans only spoke English, another language Haimoudi also speaks, of course). After the match, here’s how all of that was reported by one reporter in Algeria in French, with much gratitude and hope for Haimoudi as the Algerian.

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