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FIFA selects Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura for opening World Cup game

Brazil WCup Training Referees-1.jpg

Referee Yuichi Nishimura from Japan runs during a referee's training session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, June 6, 2014. Brazil is hosting the World Cup soccer tournament that starts June 12. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) (The Associated Press)

FIFA has selected Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura to handle the opening game of the World Cup between Brazil and Croatia.

FIFA said Tuesday that Nishimura would be joined by compatriots Toru Sagara and Toshiyuki Nagi, who will be the assistant referees for the Group A game at the Itaquerao stadium in Sao Paulo on Thursday. Iran's lireza Faghani is the fourth official.

Of FIFA's 25 referees for Brazil, Nishimura is one of five that were retained from the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

The 42-year-old Nishimura handled four games in South Africa, including Brazil's loss to the Netherlands in the quarterfinals. He sent off Brazil's Felipe Melo in that game for stamping on Arjen Robben as the Brazilians surrendered the lead to lose 2-1.