Carballo under fire for 'poor officiating'

World Cup referee Carlos Velasco Carballo has faced heavy criticism for his inability to control Brazil's quarterfinal defeat of Colombia.

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Friday's game saw a number of heavy tackles, with many going unpunished, while James Rodriguez seemed to be targeted by the Selecao players throughout the match.

Carballo showed just four yellow cards, despite blowing for 54 fouls -- a record in this World Cup -- and the Spanish official's failure to clamp down on the indiscipline ultimately led to Juan Camilo Zuniga's challenge on Neymar, which has ruled out the Brazil forward for the rest of the tournament due to a broken vertebra.

"Carballo wore the referee's kit, but he wasn't in charge for this quarterfinal in Fortaleza," former World Cup referee Graham Poll wrote in his column in the Daily Mail.

"The second half of a promising game deteriorated into a petty, ugly affair in which Carballo was happy to award free kicks but nothing else -- until it was too late."

Hulk said after the game that teammate Neymar needed more protection from referees after being repeatedly targeted by opponents.

"Every time is like this, players always come after Neymar, the referees need to do more to keep this from happening,'' he said.

Colombia international Falcao, who has missed the tournament through injury, was also angered by Carballo's officiating.

"For the next match, remember to call the referee, who today didn't show up," he tweeted.

Colombia boss Jose Pekerman spoke out after the match, saying that the high level of intensity disrupted the flow of the game and limited both sides' top players from performing at their best ability.

The media in Brazil were equally outraged by Carballo's officiating, with Band TV's firebrand sports presenter, Milton Neves, raging: "This Spanish referee was like the Spanish team at this World Cup: a joke."

Carballo made his name in La Liga for being a strict disciplinarian, while his 108 yellows card -- including 12 in one game -- handed out last season was one of the highest in the league.

That the Spaniard chose to mainly keep his cards in his pocket on Friday, then, seems surprising, but he is not the first official to face accusations of leniency towards the hosts at this tournament. Yuichi Nishimura came under fire for giving the World Cup hosts a soft penalty in the opening game of the tournament against Croatia.

"FIFA instructions have clearly affected a number of referees in this tournament and it is highly unlikely that will change in the remaining six games," Poll added.