Sancho angry as TV shows Crouch pulled hair to climb

AT 6ft 7in you wouldn't think Peter Crouch would need to resort to illegal tactics to outjump defenders who are comparitively diminutive in stature. But that is exactly what the England striker did while scoring the breakthrough goal in the laboured 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago.

Television replays clearly show the Liverpool attacker tugging at the hair of Brent Sancho as he leaps above the Trinidad defender for the 82nd minute goal in Nuremberg on Thursday.

Crouch grasps Sancho's dreadlocks with his right hand and yanks so hard that his opponent's head twists round violently.

Sancho, a mere 5ft 11in, is adamant the goal should have been disallowed. The Gillingham defender, who used to play in Scotland with Dundee, said: "We are gutted, just gutted with the result. It was really heart-wrenching. The first goal was definitely a foul by Crouch. He was all over my back but we didn't get the decision.

"The second goal [from Steven Gerrard] came when they hit us on the break as we tried to get back - but the first one was the crucial one so late in the game and I was fouled."

Clearly frustrated by England's late smash-and-grab act after his team had defended so heroically, Sancho suggested that Japanese referee Toru Kamikawa had not given a foul because of Trinidad's status as the tournament's minnows.

"Crouch was all over me," Sancho continued. "He was definitely pulling me back and that meant I couldn't get to him. But don't forget, we are tiny Trinidad and Tobago and there is no way that the referee was going to blow that whistle and disallow the goal."

Crouch had given no indication of there being any controversy over his sixth goal in five games for his country when interviewed before Sancho's gripes came to light. The Liverpool striker said: "It was great to score in a World Cup and it was a special moment for me."

It was only when the incident was picked up on the late night World Cup highlights programmes on BBC 1 and ITV 1 that the extent of Crouch's interference became clear. There was little sympathy for Sancho on Match of the Day, with pundit Ian Wright remarking: "It serves him right for having long hair."

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