Blatter clarifies apology to Socceroos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blatter clarifies apology to Socceroos

31/10/2006 06:22:45 AM Comments (0)

FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who suggested that World Cup champion Italy may have been lucky to reach the quarterfinals, attempted to clarify that statement on Monday.

In an interview on SBS Television in Australia on Sunday, Blatter said he was offering an apology to Australian soccer fans who saw their team knocked out of the of World Cup in the second round.

The Italians won 1-0 on a penalty called with only a few seconds remaining in second-half injury time. At the time, the Italians were playing a man short and had made all of their substitutions.

"The Socceroos should have gone into the quarterfinals in place of Italy," Blatter said.

"They were up to beat Italy."

Australia was eliminated after Francesco Totti scored the penalty, which had been called by Spanish referee Luis Medina.

On Monday, Blatter issued a statement clarifying his comments.

"With my statement I simply wanted to pay credit to the Socceroos, as well, because they played a great match and their lack of experience did not permit them to go to extra time," Blatter said.

The FIFA statement said Blatter "never did make disrespectful comments about the reigning world champions."

"The Italian team proved that despite serious pressures at home, they stuck together as a team and delivered exceptional football," Blatter said.

"The Italian team proved that superior skills, teamwork and individual determination are the ingredients that lead to World Cup glory."

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