Vieri blasts "amateurish" linesman
(Channel4) - Italy had two goals controversially ruled out in their 2-1 defeat against Croatia, both of them decided by Danish linesman Jens Larsen.
“There was no reason at all for my goal being annulled,” blasted Christian Vieri after the final whistle.
“I don’t think Pippo Inzaghi’s had anything wrong with it, either. In fact, he was being held by the Croatian marker.”
“I really don’t understand the decisions made by the referee and his assistant in this match,” continued Vieri. “I’m far from certain that these people are able to officiate in a World Cup. We should have won this 3-2.”
The Azzurri were also unfortunate to see Francesco Totti’s late free kick come off the post.
“Let’s not even start talking about bad luck,” sighed Vieri.
Teammate Fabio Cannavaro agreed with the criticism of referee Graham Poll.
“Vieri did well to say those things, because the referee made very serious mistakes. It was a tough game,” added the defender, “but we were expecting that.”
The usually strong Italian back line looked particularly troubled after Alessandro Nesta limped off with a bruised foot.
“Nesta felt pain under his foot and asked for the substitution,” revealed the Parma captain, “but I don’t think it’s anything serious.”
His replacement, Marco Materazzi, was less than impressive and failed to close down the Croats on both goals.
“There is nothing to be gained in pointing the finger at individuals,” snapped Cannavaro. “When a mistake is made then we are all at fault.”
“There is no such thing as a poor team in the World Cup nowadays,” he assured. “Italy did well overall and this was a simple slip-up, nothing more.”
“There are no regrets as we had our chances to win the match and would have taken them with a better referee. I have always maintained that Italian referees are the best in the world.”
When asked if the Azzurri would change their tactics for the final Group G clash with Mexico, Cannavaro seemed hesitant.
“Our characteristics mean we do best when hitting teams on the break. We suffered today in trying to find space.