Top Australian referee Mark Shield said Italian official Roberto Rosetti had no choice to send Australia's Harry Kewell off on Saturday night.
Rosetti produced a straight red when Kewell appeared to handle the ball on the goal line in the 25th minute of the 1-1 draw with Ghana and despite plenty of criticism for the decision, Shield said it had to be made.
"The key fact is the shot was hit from so far away (roughly 10m) it gave Harry the chance to get out of the way - it couldn't be regarded as ball to hand," he said.
"At the last World Cup we were briefed that a ball hit hard from two or three metres away might not be viewed as intentional handball, but Harry was three or four times as far away.
"Not only that but he also makes a small but definite move towards the ball with his arm - for whatever reason, as the ball came to him Harry's arm stayed stiff and that's handball.
"It's so unfortunate that it was Harry Kewell and Australia, but Roberto had no option but to give the penalty and send him off."