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Page last updated at 22:28 GMT, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 23:28 UK

World Cup 2010: Missed handball enrages Serbia manager

Marko Pantelic reduces the arrears for Serbia in Nelspruit

Serbia boss Radomir Antic was angry about a late penalty appeal after a 2-1 defeat by Australia condemned his side to a first-round World Cup exit.

Nemanja Vidic's late header appeared to make contact with Tim Cahill's arm, but referee Jorge Larrionda waved play on.

An equaliser would have put Serbia through behind Group D winners Germany at the expense of Ghana.

"The referee, including the fourth official, did not want to see a foul that was quite obvious," said Antic.

"We had two goals disallowed and the first one was definitely not offside and we were also denied a penalty for the kind of handball that resulted in two penalties given against us in the two previous matches.

"This is not a dark day for Serbian soccer, it was the referee and his assistants who had a dark day and their poor decisions put us to the sword, albeit along with chances we missed in the first half.


"We showed that we deserved to be in the World Cup and football has not treated us fairly here because this game showed that the better team doesn't always win."

Second-half goals from Cahill and Brett Holman gave Australia a 2-0 lead before substitute Marko Pantelic reduced the arrears in the 84th minute.

The striker had a goal ruled out for offside soon after before missing two further good chances in the final five minutes.

"We have to be completely honest and say that Australia's first goal stunned us and we didn't recover until very late in the game, when we could have rescued our bid to reach the last 16," added Antic.

Defender Vidic said there was a "sombre atmosphere" in the dressing room following their exit from the competition.

"Australia were more aggressive in the second half and we ran out of steam after they started pounding us with long balls and sharp crosses into our penalty box," said the Manchester United defender.

"We are very disappointed because we expected to reach the knockout stage of the competition, especially after beating Germany and giving ourselves a good chance of progressing."

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see also
Highlights - Australia 2-1 Serbia
23 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Australia left to rue poor start
23 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Antic dedicates victory to nation
18 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team guide: Serbia
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Serbia Photo Album
28 Apr 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
Guide to the teams at South Africa 2010
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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