Italy senses Korean ***
Tuesday June 18, 2002
Italy's politicians and football officials have accused Ecuadorian
referee Byron Moreno of "robbing" them of victory - and suggested that
behind-the-scenes-powers worked to hand South Korea a place in the
World Cup quarter-finals.
Italy had a man sent off and a goal disallowed for offside in extra
time - both decisions denounced by Italian television commentators -
before South Korea scored the golden goal with three minutes of extra
"Frankly, that was complete robbery," Bruno Pizzul, Italy's most
famous commentator told state television RAI immediately after the
Franco Frattini, Italy's minister for public offices, agreed: "The
referee was a disgrace, absolutely scandalous. I've never seen a game
like it. It seemed as if they just sat around a table and decided to
throw us out."
Meanwhile Raffaele Ranucci, the head of the Italian football
delegation to the World Cup, told Italy's RAI state television that a
*** had taken place.
"Korea is a powerful country. It's clear that they would have done
something. I've never in my life seen refereeing that bad," he said.
"The referee was a disgrace. It was like something out of a comedy
Asked if he had said anything to Moreno after the game, Ranucci
replied: "We said something to the referee in the changing rooms. We
are angry and disappointed. It's not fair that a country like Italy
can be humiliated like this."
Italy's fans clearly agreed with the assessment. Hundreds of
supporters, who had gathered in central Rome to watch the game on a
giant screen, shouted "death to the referee" after the game.
Scuffles broke out in front of Rome's central train station as
Italians hurled bottles and insults at a small group of South Korean
supporters who had gathered to celebrate their team's historic
"Thieves, thieves, you stole the game," the Italians yelled before
police moved in to restore order.