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Sunday, 9 June, 2002, 05:10 GMT 06:10 UK
Italy withdraw protest threat
Francesco Totti with referee Graham Poll in the background
Italy were unhappy about Poll's refereeing
Italy have decided not to launch an official protest following some controversial refereeing decisions during their 2-1 defeat by Croatia.

The Italians were unhappy at having two goals disallowed by English referee Graham Poll on the advice of Danish linesman Jens Larsen.

But the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has confirmed no appeal to Fifa was planned.

Raffaele Ranucci, head of Italy's World Cup delegation, said: "The FIGC is not even thinking about taking any formal action regarding the refereeing.

"We don't like self-pity, and we don't even want to consider conspiracies, plots and things like that against Italy.

"Unfortunately, we paid the price for refereeing errors that can happen, the match was refereed like any others."

Christian Vieri looked to have given Italy a 51st-minute lead when he headed home Gianluca Zambrotta's flick from a Cristiano Doni cross.

But Larsen raised his flag for offside, even though television replays showed both Zambrotta and Vieri to be onside.

Then in injury-time, Marco Matterazzi's free-kick eluded everyone in the Croatian area and found its way into the net, but Filippo Inzaghi was penalised for shirt-pulling.

Open Quote
I simply can't understand why our equaliser was not allowed
Close Quote
Giovanni Trapattoni
Italy coach

Coach Giovanni Trapattoni was angry after the game.

"We deserved at least a draw because one of the two disallowed goals, if not both of them, should have been allowed to stand," he said

"I simply can't understand why our equaliser was not allowed."

Italy playmaker Francesco Totti said he had not been given sufficient protection by referee Poll.

"I had to withstand a number of challenges during the first half, but then he was a typical English referee in every way," Totti said.

Alessandro Nesta complains to referee Graham Poll
Nesta is unlikely to face Mexico
And to add to their problems, central defender Alessandro Nesta is likely to miss Italy's crucial final group game against Mexico.

The Lazio star bruised his foot in the first-half against Croatia and had to be substituted.

He was unhappy that the game was not stopped immediately when he went down injured in the 24th minute.

"I asked the referee four times to stop the game and he did nothing," Nesta said.

"What do I have to do? Make a scene?"

Italy are doubtful whether 24-year-old Nesta, considered one of the world's finest defenders, will be fit for the Mexico game.

"We will do everything possible to get him ready," team doctor Andrea Ferretti said after the match.

"But from my experience I would say it is very difficult."


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GROUP G
  P GD PTS
MEXICO 3 +2 7
ITALY 3 +1 4
CROATIA 3 -1 3
ECUADOR 3 -2 3

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