VIENNA (Reuters) - Poland coach Leo Beenhakker was outraged by the injury-time penalty decision that gave Austria a 1-1 draw in their Euro 2008 game on Thursday and, according to the Dutchman, ended his side’s interest in the tournament.
Poland were leading through Roger Guerreiro’s 30th-minute goal when English referee Howard Webb awarded a penalty after seeing Sebastian Proedl held by Mariusz Lewandowski as the players jostled to reach a free kick.
Ivica Vastic converted to revive Austria’s hopes in Group B and leave Beenhakker fuming.
“It’s impossible to accept,” he told reporters. “At the start of the tournament we were told referees had been specially instructed to look for wrestling in the box and for what in German we call ‘schwalben’, people who dive to get a penalty.
“Since the tournament started I’ve seen free wrestling at free kicks and corners and several divers but no yellow cards.
“Today was nothing unusual yet they allowed Austria to retake the free kick. On the second one there was the usual wrestling we’ve seen in the last five years,” added Beenhakker.
“I don’t know why the referee saw what nobody else saw, maybe he just wanted to show he was a big boy.
“I’ve been 43 years in this business, I always accept referee’s decisions but this is something I really can’t understand in relation to other situations.”
Poland lost their opening game 2-0 to Germany but, after riding their luck in the early stages on Thursday when Austria missed three good chances, were looking back on track as the clocked ticked down.
“We were sleeping a bit for the first 20 minutes but after that we played a great game,” Beenhakker said.
Qualification is still possible but it would need an unlikely combination of a hefty Poland win over already-qualified Croatia and Austria to beat Germany by a narrow margin in the final round of games on Monday.
That is a scenario the vastly experienced coach has already ruled out.
“I don’t think so, the only situation was to win tonight,” said Beenhakker.
“It’s not in our hands any more and the conclusion is we are doomed. We are out of the tournament and that hurts.”
Editing by Tony Jimenez
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