Saturday, 7 September 2013

Danny fury! Harsh yellow card rules Welbeck out of vital clash in Ukraine

Out: Danny Welbeck was booked during England's match against Moldova at Wembley
Roy Hodgson blew his top despite watching England move into pole position in the race for World Cup qualification.

England jumped to the top of Group H with a comprehensive 4-0 win over sorry Moldova thanks to Danny Welbeck's brace and goals from Steven Gerrard and Rickie Lambert.

But it was overshadowed by referee Ivan Kruzliak's decision to hand Welbeck a harsh yellow card for kicking the ball away, which means the Manchester United forward misses Tuesday's vital clash in Ukraine.

Close call: Welbeck shots at goal after ref Ivan Kruzliak blew his whistle, leading to his booking

Bending his ear: An angry Welbeck remonstrates with the referee
England manager Hodgson vented his frustration at fourth official Richard Trutz, with coach Gary Neville continuing the protest with Kruzliak at half-time.

Welbeck's suspension leaves Hodgson with a striker crisis going into the crucial trip to Kiev, with Wayne Rooney missing the clash with a gashed head and injured Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge rated as a major doubt.

Welbeck insisted he did not hear the Slovakian's whistle in the lead-up to his booking, adding: 'I was very disappointed to get booked, in a stadium of thousands of fans when you can't always hear the whistle. It was difficult to get my head right after that, but I wanted to play my part for the team and hopefully in Ukraine we will get the right result.'

Hodgson said: 'The booking for Danny Welbeck has overshadowed the night, that's for sure. We were already very short of front players. I can't believe it was a yellow-card offence, and for the other one he got in Montenegro, we should have had a penalty but he was booked for diving.

'All of you have seen as many games as I have. I don't think there'll be too many people, even in the refereeing fraternity, who will say that was a clear yellow card.

'A 40-yard sprint, a ball that arrives on your foot, a split-second between the whistle blowing and the shot. You'll have to try very hard to persuade me that was a booking. But he's got a yellow card and he's out of the game.

'We'll live with it, deal with it, but I'm not prepared to go down that route (by saying) that these things happen. I didn't think it was a correct decision. Danny's been unbelievably unfortunate. We have already lost Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge and it makes life difficult for us. It takes the gloss off a good team performance. But we're getting used to dealing with misfortune.

'We were certainly considering Welbeck as an alternative front player. The players dealt with the blows we suffered in terms of injury before the game. I hope they do the same thing in Ukraine.'

On Sturridge's chances, Hodgson added: 'It's not impossible [that he is fit], we shouldn't give up hope. But is it more than 50-50? Definitely no. I fear it's worse odds than that.

'The game against the Ukraine is what it was always going to be. They came away from Wembley with a 1-1, scored a fantastic goal, we had one disallowed. We knew we had to match that result in Ukraine to be top of the group.'

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