Hungarian ref admits Ukraine goal blunder

Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai on Thursday admitted that he should have awarded a goal to Ukraine in their final Euro 2012 match against England and apologised for his mistake.

"After the match, we looked at and evaluated the situation. We realised straight away that we made a mistake," Kassai said on the official website of the Hungarian football federation (MLSZ).

The five officials at the game, including two on the goal-line, were criticised for not awarding a goal to the co-hosts, which arose as England defender John Terry tried to clear after a Joe Hart save from a Marko Devic shot.

England were 1-0 up at the time and the scored stayed that way until the final whistle, seeing them advance as Group D winners while Ukraine were eliminated, although a draw would not have been enough to get them through.

Kassai in particular has borne the brunt of the criticism for waving play on, particularly in Ukraine, where some alleged he had a pro-England bias. A Facebook "dislike" page was even set up and was approved by at least 32,000 people.

The referee, who has not been retained for the knock-out stages of the competition, added on the website: "Our job is cruel because we can make 199 correct decisions but a single error can be fatal."

The no-goal reopened the debate about the introduction of goal-line technology that has pitted world governing body FIFA, which is in favour, against its European counterpart UEFA, which is not.

But UEFA's chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina on Wednesday blamed "human error" for the situation and said it had been the only mistake in 24 group stage matches and "thousands" of European games using five officials.

Kassai, 36, said he and his team were "really very disappointed" about the situation, as it tarnished an otherwise successful tournament that had shown they were among the best officials in the world.

But he said he was sure they would bounce back.

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