Van Nistelrooy goal was correct - UEFA

Holland's controversial first goal in their 3-0 Group C victory over world champions Italy at Euro 2008 was correctly awarded despite many observers believing it was offside, UEFA said.

"The goal was correctly awarded," UEFA general secretary David Taylor said.

"Not many people, even in the game, and I include the players, know this interpretation (of Law 11)."

Ruud van Nistelrooy turned home Wesley Sneijder's shot from several yards ahead of the defensive line to put the Dutch ahead on 26 minutes.

But Swedish referee Peter Frojdfeldt, the Holland team and UEFA all argued that the presence of Italy defender Christian Panucci on the sidelines behind the goal-line played the Real Madrid striker onside.

Panucci was lying injured after colliding with team-mate and Azzurri goalkeeper Gianliugi Buffon, and many believed that because the Roma defender was outside the boundaries of the pitch he could not have been interfering with the play.

But a clause inserted into Law 11 in 2003 states that a defending player who leaves the pitch without the referee's permission as part of a playing movement may be deemed to still be interfering with play in the case of awarding offsides.

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