ISF President Talks about Italy's Exit From World Cup

Italian Soccer Federation President Franco Carraro said Friday Italy had been effectively damaged by incompetent referees during its World Cup matches but could not blame its controversial exit entirely on their poor decisions.

"Italy was set back by poor refereeing at the World Cup but it wouldn't be fair to blame our exit entirely on that. We'd become the laughing of the world by doing that," Carraro said.

Speaking at a Rome news conference a day after his return from South Korea, Carraro said it would be "irresponsible to resign now ", despite loud demands from the Italian sports dailies that he step down immediately.

"If the Federation decides at its next meeting, sometime before the end of July, that I should step down and someone else should be appointed then the situation might change," he said.

Italy was knocked out of the World Cup by co-hosts South Korea 2-1 on Tuesday after a golden goal in extra time.

Match referee Byron Moreno of Ecuador was fingered by Italian medias as the prime villain of the national tragedy, but charges have also been leveled at Carraro and coach Giovanni Trapattoni.

The players, Trapattoni and most Italians believe the team was deliberately penalised by Moreno, who sent off key striker Francesco Totti during extra time and also ruled out a goal for offside.

Carraro has also been criticised for not putting his foot down after a string of other bad decisions in previous matches and for not showing enough support for the team.

Trapattoni, for his part, was slated for an over-cautious approach to Tuesday's match, defending the lead instead of killing South Korea off after the first half of the game.

The Italian team returned home Thursday amidst cheers by fans who do not blame them for Italy's unexpected defeat.



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