Karlchen_I : Schweizer...
|Down and out ... Beckham's despair as England are kicked out of Euro 2004 after his penalty miss|
Picture: MARK ROBINSON
|By NICK PARKER, |
NEIL SYSON and
ENGLAND were robbed of Euro 2004 glory last night by a heartbreaking refereeing decision.
Swiss ref Urs Meier ruled out a headed goal by Sol Campbell in the 89th minute, condemning our battling boys to extra time and a dreaded penalty shoot-out.
After a night of high drama in Lisbon, England finished 6-5 losers on penalties, with captain David Beckham blazing his spot-kick over the bar.
But BBC TV pundit Peter Reid later summed up the mood of the nation when he said of the disallowed goal: ?We?ve been cheated.?
And fans were quick to point out that ref Meier?s Switzerland were hammered 3-0 by England last week.
Paul Roach, 35, from Leicester, said: ?I was right behind the goal when Sol scored. I could see nothing wrong.?
Manchester businessman Paul James, 56, said: ?The Swiss referee was a joke for disallowing Sol?s goal. I could still clearly see there was nothing wrong with his challenge on the keeper.
?If it wasn?t for that ref we would now be marching into the semi-finals. It?s heartbreaking.?
Nicky Mortimer, 39, a secretary from Chelmsford, Essex, rang The Sun to say: ?That referee is more bent than one of Uri Geller?s spoons.?
And caller Gemma White, 25, an administrator from Christchurch, Dorset, said: ?The ref was bang out of order and he should be sacked. He was terrible.?
Devastated England coach Sven Goran Eriksson said of the goal: ?From the bench it looked all right. We were not lucky with some things out there tonight.?
England went ahead in the 3rd minute with a goal by Michael Owen.
Fans went wild, dancing jigs of glee as they cried: ?We?re not going home.?
Sadly, they were. Things began to look bleak from the moment wonderboy Wayne Rooney went off with a broken foot.
The 18-year-old striker was rushed to hospital for an X-ray after defender Jorge Andrade trod on him.
Although Beckham and Co played their hearts out after Rooney?s departure, slick Portugal gradually got on top.
And in the 83rd minute Spurs player Helder Postiga headed home the equaliser.
England could have sealed victory if the ref had not disallowed Campbell?s goal.
But after 90 minutes the sides were level. And five minutes into the second period of extra time Rui Costa scored the second for Portugal.
Then with five minutes to go Frank Lampard made it 2-2 and English hopes rose again. But the agony of the penalty shoot-out was waiting for them.
First David Beckham and then Darius Vassell missed from the spot.
England felt they suffered from the state of the penalty spots, which were covered in sand.
Peter Reid revealed the England camp had complained about the problem before the game.
Michael Owen later admitted: ?Going out on penalties is a bitter blow.?
He added: ?I also couldn?t see anything wrong with Sol?s goal.?
Three Lions fans in Lisbon?s stunning Stadium of Light wept as their dreams of glory evaporated.
Tom Preston, a 40-year-old engineer from Boston, Lincs, said: ?I really thought we were good enough to have gone all the way but it just wasn?t to be.?
The England players saluted their travelling supporters before trooping off in misery as millions cried into their beer back home.
England?s defeat was greeted with despair and disbelief by a huge TV audience estimated at up to 30million.
Earlier fans had been on their best behaviour in the bars and squares of Lisbon.
Thousands also had a ball in the stadium ? playfully punting The Sun?s England beach balls around the stands.
The 35,000 loyal fans sang themselves hoarse in a bid to lift the team and covered more than half the stadium with St George cross banners.
They drowned out their Portuguese hosts with chants of ?You?re supposed to be at home.?
Wayne Rooney?s grandad Bill Morrey, 74, arrived at the stadium to find no ticket had been set aside for him and was in danger of missing the match until UEFA officials stepped in.
They produced a ticket at the last minutes and he took pride of place in an official UEFA observer?s seat.
Victoria Beckham had flown from England to see the match after going home to watch son Brooklyn, five, in a school play.
Prince William, 22, watched the big game in The Tunnel House Inn pub, at Coates, near Highgrove.
Like all fans, he went home knowing the dream was over.
Go to www.ursmeier.ch/referee/ and click on the feedback section. Under ?vorname? enter your first name, under ?nachname? enter your surname. Then fill in your email address ? and let rip.
lassmichrein : Tja - der 5meter-Raum ist halt des Torwarts
Hätten die mal besser auf das 2:0 gedrängt, statt sich hintenrein zu stellen hätten sie die Portugiesen mit ihrer Luschen-Abwehr abgeschossen !!!
Sleber schuld, genauso wie unsere Trottel !!!
chrismitz : Ich wollte es nicht sagen, da sonst
Der Urs war wieder einmal der schlechteste von allen auf dem Platz! Nichtmal Beckham konnte ihm durch sienen mißglücktem Elfmeter das Wasser reichen...und das war ja schon ein starkes Stück!
So ist es eben, wenn Unfähige Spiele entscheiden...