Uefa: Dutch goal was onside
Netherlands' controversial opening goal over Italy was correctly ruled as onside.
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2008 14:34 GMT

Ruud van Nistelrooy, left, celebrates as Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon remonstrates [GALLO/GETTY]

Uefa, European football's governing body, have said Netherlands' controversial opening goal in Monday's 3-0 Group C victory over world champions Italy at Euro 2008 was correctly awarded despite many observers believing it was offside.
David Taylor, Uefa general secretary, told a news conference on Tuesday that the officials correctly interpreted the laws of the game when Ruud van Nistelrooy scored, stating Christian Panucci played him onside even though the Italian defender was off the pitch at the time.
"The goal was correctly awarded... not many people, even in the game, and I include the players, know this interpretation [of Law 11]," Taylor said.

Roberto Donadoni, Italy coach, refused to blame the controversial goal for his team's thrashing at the hands of the Netherlands in their Euro 2008 opener in Bern.

"A goal is a goal and it is impossible to change the decision."

Roberto Donadoni,
Italy coach
Van Nistelrooy appeared to be in an offside position when he turned the ball home, after Panucci fell and went off the field of play behind the byline after clashing with other players in the preceding goalmouth scramble.

The world champions protested to Swedish referee Peter Frojdfeldt and the Azzurri fans joined in having seen a replay of the 26th-minute incident on the stadium's big screen, but the goal stood.

"I don't like to talk about referees's decisions. A goal is a goal and it is impossible to change the decision," Donadoni told a news conference.

"We accept it."

Rule book

Luca Toni, Italy striker, was convinced it was offside.

"I looked at the replay during the match and it looked to me as if it was offside," the Bayern Munich forward told reporters.

"I said to the referee, 'look at the replay'. But he didn't look so that was that."

Gerhard Kapl, Austrian referees' commission chairman, was quoted on the Austrian website www.sportal.at as saying the goal was correctly awarded.

"The injured player behind the goal counts as a player on the field and therefore it was not offside," said Kapl.

Uefa were unable to clear up the matter immediately and none of the experts quoted on various TV networks seemed able to point to a rule in Fifa's laws of the game which could clarify the position.

Italy were outmuscled by the Dutch in midfield and also failed to create many clear-cut chances.

"We weren't very good. The Dutch players have physical quality," said Donadoni, adding he was alarmed by some of his side's defending.

"It has just been one of those nights, now we must look forward.

"It's hard but you must be optimistic. There are other games."

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