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Blatter missing World cup final was planned

Article Published: Thursday 11 January 2007

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Sepp Blatter apologized to Italy on Monday for not awarding the team with the World Cup trophy.

"History will say it was an error that the FIFA president did not award the Azzurri as world champions, and in effect it was an error," Blatter said. "I had already apologized to Italian officials right after the final."

Blatter said his decision to skip the award ceremony after Italy beat France on penalties on July 9 in Berlin was planned before the game started.

"I wanted to avoid creating an ugly scene because the Germans had shown they would whistle at the word FIFA," Blatter said after arriving in Rome for a ceremony with the World Cup champions.

"Any other hypothesis is pure imagination," Blatter added, according to the ANSA news agency.

Blatter wanted to put the situation right after the Italians were insulted that he did not presnt them with the World Cup trophy. This was later taken further when Blatter made a confusing statement on Australian television where he appeared to say that Italy was lucky to have reached the QTR finals as Australia deserved to be there.

Italy advanced with a 1-0 win over Australia, decided by a controversial penalty called with only a few seconds remaining in injury time.

"Yes, Italy deserved to win the World Cup," Blatter said. "The Azzurri found themselves in a difficult situation at the World Cup and they showed a great capacity to play soccer, producing a great effort.

"Whoever spread the contents of that Australian interview would have done well to listen to the tape. They would have understood that there was nothing of the sort," Blatter said.




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