BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa – Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer admitted he “fooled” referee Jorge Larrionda into making the most controversial decision of the World Cup.
Neuer carried on playing even when Frank Lampard’s 38th-minute lob bounced over the line and appeared to give England a clear goal at Free State Stadium. The 24-year-old grabbed the ball and swiftly kicked it upfield as England’s disbelieving players rounded upon Larrionda and begged him to reconsider his decision.
“I didn’t react because I just wanted to concentrate on carrying on and making the game fast,” said Neuer, who plays for Schalke in the German Bundesliga. “I realized it was tight, but I was quite sure it was over the line. I think that perhaps the way I carried on so quickly fooled the referee and made him think it was not over.
“After the game I was in doping control and saw it on the television. And yes, of course it was over and should have been a goal for England. It was lucky for us and unlucky for them.”
The German team was equally as stunned as England by its slice of good fortune. Head coach Joachim Loew was spotted nudging his assistant and smiling at their luck, while England boss Fabio Capello fumed nearby.
Neuer insisted, though, that the Lampard no-goal made no difference to the eventual outcome Sunday, 4-1, claiming Germany would have won the match in any case.
“It was one incident and yes, it was important,” Neuer said. “But I believe we were the stronger team and deserved to win the game even without this.
“If you look at the way the match played out then I think our team would have scored the goals we needed just like we did. When you have good luck in football it is important to capitalize on that luck, and we did.”
Germany next takes on Argentina in a quarterfinal at Cape Town’s Green Point Stadium on Saturday.
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