Diving into Rooney row: Our experts on decision that left Slovenia fuming
07 September 2009 08:11
Slovenia left Wembley cursing Wayne Rooney and grumbling about how his superstar status gets him preferential treatment from referees.
England's visitors were fuming at Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson for awarding a penalty for Rooney's tussle with Bostjan Cesar that left the Slovenian defender with an ankle injury.
'Rooney went down far too easily and because he's a big name it made it easier for the referee to make a decision,' said midfielder Nejc Pecnik. 'It didn't look like a penalty to me.
'Lots of people dive in football, that's sport. Perhaps he fell, I don't know. But when Rooney went down, he kicked Cesar and he's twisted his ankle. Our player is injured and somehow England got a penalty.'
Rooney insisted before the game that he never dived. But Slovenia goalkeeper Samir Handanovic was surprised to see Rooney's arm aloft, asking for a penalty after his clash with Cesar.
'It was wrong of him to do this,' said Handanovic. 'He is a good player but I did not expect this from a player from a good team with his quality. It was not fair play. It was a foul for us. He gave the penalty because England is a bigger national team than Slovenia. I am not happy.'
Sportsmail's experts give their opinions on the Rooney penalty award.
MARTIN SAMUEL Watching a game with Sir Bobby Robson some years ago, I recall him being appalled at a player receiving a yellow card for diving. 'It wasn't a foul, it wasn't a dive, the two of them just collided and fell over, now get the ball back in play and carry on,' he said. My feelings exactly. Wayne Rooney did not dive, Bostjan Cesar did not foul him, now let play continue.
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GRAHAM POLL Wayne Rooney certainly didn't dive for a penalty, but he was extremely fortunate to get one. Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson baffled most observers by pointing to the spot when it appeared that Slovenia should have been awarded a free-kick when Rooney and Bostjan Cesar clashed. The England man was fortunate not to see a card after he lashed out at Cesar following their clash and he will need to cut out such unnecessary actions well before next summer.
MATT LAWTON It wasn't a dive, it wasn't a foul so it wasn't a penalty either. Slovenia had every right to feel aggrieved, especially when the unfortunate Bostjan Cesar was booked as well. Rooney was too busy wrestling with his opponent to even think about taking a dive, so much so that he actually committed the foul as he fell to the ground.
MATT BARLOW Was it a penalty? No, of course it wasn't. But it wasn't a dive, either. It's wrong to assume there's no middle ground or all contact will vanish from the game. It was a physical duel for the ball. Wayne Rooney went a bit too far and Bostjan Cesar was unfortunate to get injured. England were lucky. It should have been a free-kick to Slovenia.