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Sunday, 9 June, 2002, 05:09 GMT 06:09 UK
Referees get Fifa praise
Referee Graham Poll is surrounded by angry Italian players
Graham Poll found himself involved in controversy
Fifa have defended the general standard of refereeing during the World Cup after complaints by Italy after their 2-1 defeat to Croatia on Saturday.

The head of Italy's World Cup delegation, Raffaele Ranucci, said the Italian Football Federation had considered a complaint but later decided against it.

The Italians had two goals disallowed by English referee Graham Poll after Danish referee Jens Larsen flagged for offside.

But Fifa have come out in favour of their match officials.

"Generally the overall standard (of refereeing) is more than satisfactory," Fifa spokesman Keith Cooper said

"It is acknowledged that mistakes may be made. I'm not necessarily saying this was the case last night. I do want to emphasize that," he added.

"Mistakes can happen - referees are humans just like players. We shouldn't look at isolated matches, but the standard as a whole."

Christian Vieri was ruled offside early in the second half and in injury time Poll ruled that Filippo Inzaghi had pulled the shirt of a Croatian defender before striking the ball home.

"Those weren't division one or even division two referees, they were village referees," Vieri said later.


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