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Paraguay expect FIFA apology for `goal`, penalty

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-07-03 09:04:47

JOHANNESBURG: Paraguay coach Gerard Martino claimed he was expecting an apology from FIFA following his team`s 1-0 World Cup quarter-final defeat to Spain at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Martino was angered by a pair of decisons that went against his team and potentially cost them victory.

In the first half Paraguay striker Nelson Valdez put the ball in the net after latching onto a long ball but the linesman`s flag went up and it was chalked out for offside although television replays showed the decision was wrong.

Then in the second half, just after Paraguay forward Oscar Cardozo had seen his penalty saved by Spain captain Iker Casillas following Gerard Pique`s hauling down of Cardozo in the box, the Europeans were also awarded a spot-kick.

There appeared to be minimal contact between Antolin Alcaraz and Spain striker David Villa before the new Barcelona signing went down.

Both Pique and Alcaraz were booked for their challenges although Xabi Alonso missed the twice-taken penalty.

"I should say that some decisions could have changed the course of the match," said Martino.

"There was the first half goal scored by Valdez and also the penalty. Perhaps there was a foul but then perhaps he should have been sent off.

"Maybe FIFA will apologise tomorrow for that, say thank you to FIFA for apologising to us."

That was a reference to FIFA president Sepp Blatter`s previous apologies to England and Mexico following the second round games in which both teams were the victims of controversial refereeing decisions.

Martino was clearly bitter about what might have been, despite the fact that Paraguay reached the last eight of the World Cup for the first time in their history.

"I don`t feel happy or satisfied. For the technical team and myself, the adminstrators, managers and players, making history was trying to be there in the last week of the World Cup," he said.

"When you analyse this match you`re looking at a situation where we played against the team that has been number one in the world for many years.

"Spain are through to the semi-final but it could have been us."

Martino said no-one was blaming Cardozo for his penalty miss, which would have given the South Americans the lead.

"He will know and understand that this is the history of football players who have to take on the responsibility of taking penalties.

"This can happen, it`s impossible not to feel bad but his teammates are with him and we all have to take responsibility.

"The other day we hugged him because he scored the goal to bring us here, this time it wasn`t possible.

"He feels really bad today but in time this will be just a memory, but it`s impossible to change his feelings now."

BDST: 0557hrs, July 4, 2010

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