DCSIMG

Polish PM wanted to 'kill' referee Webb after controversial last-gasp penalty

POLAND'S prime minister said yesterday that he felt like he wanted to kill Howard Webb when the English referee awarded the injury-time penalty that allowed Austria to snatch a 1-1 draw at Euro 2008.

Ivica Vastic's late equaliser in Thursday's clash meant Poland had to settle for one point from their first two games in Group B.

"As the prime minister I have to be balanced and collected," said keen football fan Donald Tusk. "But last night I was speaking very differently about the whole thing, I wanted to kill.

"Referees make mistakes and this was an obvious error that harmed us all. I thought it would have been better if we had lost in the first half when Austria had their chances and not after 93 minutes due to an obvious mistake."

Austria missed three gilt-edged opportunities in the opening exchanges before Roger Guerreiro put Poland ahead when he was clearly offside in the 30th minute.

Poland now face a difficult task to qualify for the quarter-finals when they meet group winners Croatia in their final match on Monday.

Uefa officials, meanwhile, have backed Webb following the Premier League referee's eventful first match at the European Championships.

Webb awarded Austria the last-gasp penalty when Mariusz Lewandowski wrestled with Sebastian Prodl, a decision Poland coach Leo Beenhakker believed was inconsistent with the rest of the tournament.

Beenhakker revealed that each country was given a DVD telling them grappling would be targeted but Poland were the first in Euro 2008 to concede a penalty in that way.

"We don't think it is controversial that a player is pulled down by the shirt and a penalty is given," said Uefa director of communications William Gaillard. "It (Webb's decision) was certainly within the laws of the game."

Beenhakker accused Webb of trying to prove he was a "big boy" following the draw in Vienna.

Uefa's disciplinary body will judge whether Beenhakker faces action for his comments, while the referees' committee will decide if Webb and assistants Darren Cann and Michael Mullarkey will take charge of another game at the tournament.

Given that England are not at the tournament, it was seen as an opportunity for Webb's team to stay at the tournament until the latter stages.

Gaillard added: "The referees' committee analyses all the games and makes the appointments according to its own analyses and we don't interfere with the way they are managing officials in this tournament.

"I wouldn't speculate about the decisions of our referees' committee."

 
 
 

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