Antic slams ref after Serb exit
Early exit leaves coach unhappy at officials
By Danny Wright. Last Updated: 23/06/10 10:45pm
Antic: Referee blast
Radomir Antic blasted referee Jorge Larrionda as his Serbia team were sent tumbling out of the World Cup finals.
The Serbians suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Australia in their final Group D encounter and a draw would have been enough to see them finish second on goal difference.
Serbia missed a host of chances to grab the decisive goal that would have sent them through and Marko Pantelic's late miss was an indictment of the opportunities spurned - although the substitute had his blushes spared somewhat by a marginal offside decision.
But the manager was unhappy at the decision of Larrionda not to award a penalty to his team after Tim Cahill - who had put the Socceroos in front - appeared to handle.
And the coach put the blame on the officials as the reason behind his team returning back home to Europe after the first round.
The 61-year-old said: "The referee, including the fourth official, did not want to see a foul that was quite obvious.
"We are angry when it came to this decision. We did not get fair treatment, we deserved more than we did get and we have to go home now.
"The ref had a black day when it came to Serbia."
Antic could have few complaints about his team's exit after wasting a plethora of chances throughout the match.
Milos Krasic was the first culprit as he rounded Aussie keeper Mark Schwarzer after 12 minutes but could only fire wide, meanwhile Nikola Zigic also wasted an opportunity.
Pantelic's stoppage-time miss could have proved most costly had the flag stayed down and the striker found the net, as a goal would have been enough to relegate Ghana - who lost to Germany in the group's other match - into third on goal difference.
Pantelic had hauled his side back into proceedings with his 84th minute goal to give his team hope, the strike ensuring a nervy finish after Brett Holman had earlier doubled the Australian advantage.
Falling two behind looked to have all but ended Serbian hopes, however their near comeback left their boss praising their courage.
He added: "This was a game of good quality. I cannot reproach any of my players for their effort.
"We had plenty of opportunities but in the end I think that we didn't get fair treatment.
"We deserved much more than we got. We have to go back home now."