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Harry Kewell says Italian referee 'killed' his World Cup
Dave Middleton - 4 years ago

The Australia striker Harry Kewell was left distraught by his first-half dismissal in yesterday's 1-1 draw with Ghana and has hit out at the inconsistency showed by referees during the tournament.

After being kept on the bench during the Socceroos' 4-0 defeat in their opening match against Germany, Kewell lasted just 24 minutes before he was dismissed for deliberate handball by the referee Roberto Rosetti after keeping out Jonathan Mensah's shot on the goalline and said the decision had "killed" his World Cup dream.

"It's just unfortunate that the ref saw something that probably everyone thought, 'OK, fair enough it was a handball, but was it red card?'," said Kewell.

"We've seen some decisions in this World Cup that haven't been red cards, why is this one different? That's why everyone gets confused, everyone gets frustrated with referees because one minute they're are saying this and one minute they are saying that.

"He's the referee at the end of the day. You can't tell him what to do. He's the judge jury and executioner."

The former Liverpool forward vehemently contested the decision by the Italian referee to no avail and Asamoah Gyan slid home the ensuing penalty to cancel out Brett Holman's 11th-minute strike.

The incident was the turning point for Australia, who can still mathematically qualify for the second round but must defeat Serbia on Wednesday and hope the result in the other Group D game between Ghana and Germany goes their way.

Kewell said he had no chance of getting his arm out of the way of the shot and, conceding the incident warranted a penalty, he did not think he should have been sent off. "It's a shame that it happened that way. But if you look at the situation, it's hit my arm, but it wasn't deliberate," Kewell said.

"It was only that I was trying to get my shoulder there. I think the ref made a decision that he can only answer. Unless I actually detach my arm and put it somewhere else, there is no other way I can move my arm. I didn't deliberately go for the hand, I didn't try and handball it, I tried to use my chest. I was playing by the rules, but the ref saw it another way. He's probably the only one who did. The guy has killed my World Cup."

Kewell became the second Australian to be sent off in as many games after Tim Cahill was shown a straight red against Germany. Cahill will return for the must-win game against Serbia, but Kewell will be forced to watch on and hope his team-mates can pull off an unlikely progression to the last 16.

"I'm devastated. We got the early goal. I thought OK, they started to come back, but I thought they had the grip on it," Kewell said. "We controlled it, I thought and then again a decision like that, they have haunted us throughout the World Cup, but again, that's football you have to take it on the chin."

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