FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has denied making comments to the Australian media disparaging World Cup winners Italy for their tactics in the last 16 round game against Australia.
Blatter was quoted as saying that Australia should have played in the quarter-finals instead of eventual champions Italy.
Australia's players and fans were outraged when Spanish referee Luis Medina Cantalejo awarded Italy a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time of their quarter-final after Lucas Neill had brought down Fabio Grosso.
Substitute Francesco Totti converted the penalty to give 10-man Italy a dramatic 1-0 win and a place in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Debate raged over the decision and world governing body FIFA was accused of not addressing the problem of diving and faking injuries in the world game.
In the television interview with SBS Television on Sunday, Blatter said referees at this year's cup finals "were not at their best".
He said the antics of players was the real problem for the game.
"I think there was too much cheating on the players' side," Blatter said in the interview.
"I agree with them and I would like to apologize [to] our fans in Australia.
"The Socceroos should have gone into the quarter-finals in place of Italy ... you go into extra time and you are 11 against 10. But that is presumptuous."
FIFA insisted that Blatter had in no way intended to criticize the Italian team, their players or their tactics.
"With my statement I simply wanted to pay credit to the Socceroos as well because they played a great match and their lack of experience did not permit them to go to extra-time," he said.
The FIFA statement also quoted Les Murray, the editorial supervisor of SBS Sport, as saying that at no time in it did Blatter make any "inappropriate comment" about the Italy versus Australia match.
"The topic as to whether the controversial penalty kick awarded to Italy in the last moments of the game was justified or not never even came up during the course of our interview," Murray said.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two