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Frank Lampard’s Denied Goal – Linesman explains his position

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Mauricio Espinosa, the referee’s assistant during the England vs Germany quarterfinal match, gave an interview to Ovacion, an online portal of the El Pais newspaper from Montevideo, Uruguay shortly after his return from South Africa. Espinosa discussed the actual apparent goal by Frank Lampard, the nature of refereeing, how he didn’t see a replay at half-time, the work of his officiating team and the need to go forward.

Rare Public Comments

Match officials rarely provide interviews or explanations to the press. Especially after such a controversial situation. The match official for this quarterfinal was Jorge Larrionda. His views were not yet provided or published by El Pais or Ovacion. Let’s see what Mr. Espinosa had to say.

“It wasn’t a technical foul… I was situated in the correct place.”

No se puede hablar de error, ya que no fue un fallo técnico. Esto fue una fatalidad en una pelota muy rápida que no la pudimos ver cuando picó adentro del arco, por más que yo estaba ubicado en el lugar correcto. Son las cosas que pueden pasar en el fútbol y que sucedió en ese momento y en ese lugar“.

“You can’t speak of an error. It wasn’t a technical foul. This was the misfortune (or fate) of a very fast ball that we could not see when it went inside the goal even though I was situated in the correct place. They are things that can happen in football and it happened in that moment and in that place.”

On What Happened

El que se dedica al arbitraje sabe que esas situaciones no tienen resolución, uno siempre está expuesto; le podía haber pasado a cualquiera, pero nos tocó a nosotros. La vida sigue, el arbitraje también, por eso seguiremos adelante“.

“One who works as a referee knows that these situations don’t have a resolution. One is always on display. It could have happened to anyone but it fell on us. Life goes on as does refereeing. For that reason, we will go forward.”

Wayne Rooney and Mauricio Espinosa
Wayne Rooney and Mauricio Espinosa

Felt His Team Did Well Otherwise

El línea subrayó, por otra parte, que quedaron:

Conformes con lo realizado, ya que en la parte técnica nos fue muy bien en los partidos que dirigimos, incluido el de Alemania e Inglaterra. Ahora hay que seguir adelante, no hay otra“.


The referee’s assistant highlighted, on the other hand, that they remained:

“In accordance with what happened already on the technical part. We did very well during the games we called including the one between Germany and England. Now you have to go forward. There isn’t another one.”

The three match officials: Jorge Larrionda, Mauricio Espinosa and Pablo Fandino
The three match officials: Jorge Larrionda, Mauricio Espinosa and Pablo Fandino

Didn’t Watch the Replay in the Dressing Room at Half-Time

Espinosa narró que ya en el vestuario, en el entretiempo, se percataron de lo que había pasado.

En el vestuario no miramos ningún video, pero uno podía percibir en el ambiente lo que había pasado. Por suerte el partido terminó sin problemas, a pesar de todo“.


Espinosa recounted that in the dressing room at half-time, they sensed what had already happened.

In the dressing room, we did not look at any video replay. But one could perceive in the environment what had happened. Luckily, the game ended without problems despite everything.”

En la concentración, siguió:

Observamos los comentarios de la televisión y ese fue el momento cuando nos dimos cuenta de lo sucedido. Fue una amargura muy grande, por todo lo que nos habíamos preparado, durante mucho tiempo, para el Mundial de Sudáfrica. Pero cuando las cosas pasan, bueno, ya está“.


In the gathering. He followed:

“We saw the commentaries from the television and that was the moment when we had to take into account what happened. It was a great sorrow for all that we had done to prepare, during a long time, for the South African World Cup. But when things happen, well, it’s done.”

 David Beckham provides his opinion on the matter with Mauricio Espinosa
David Beckham provides his opinion on the matter with Mauricio Espinosa

Translator’s Note

Whether they saw television commentaries during half-time or after the game itself was not clarified by the journalist at El Pais. The “gathering” may have been a post-match meeting between the match officials. Espinosa stated above that they didn’t see replays at half-time. I don’t know if FIFA provides a monitor or live television feed from the dressing rooms in South Africa. We know that FIFA no longer allow replays on big-screens at the stadiums after this incident and the one involving the apparent offside position by Carlos Tevez against Mexico on the same day.

Wayne Rooney shows how far it was over the line
Wayne Rooney shows how far it was over the line

Rooney Told Him It Was In

El jugador inglés Wayne Rooney le reclamó a Mauricio Espinosa y con sus manos le indicó al asistente uruguayo:

Entró al arco un tanto así“.

Pero el gol de Inglaterra, que era el del 2 a 2, no fue validado.


The English player, Wayne Rooney, complained to Mauricio Espinosa and with his hands indicated (that it was a goal) to the Uruguayan assistant.

“It went into the goal by this much.”

But the goal by England, that would have made it 2-2, was not given.

Final Thoughts: “We can train to call offside…”

Además, entrenamos muchísimo, pero esto que nos pasó a nosotros, es justamente lo que no se puede entrenar. Para poner un ejemplo, podemos entrenar para sancionar los fuera de juego y demás, que son aspectos técnicos, pero no lo que nos sucedió; que reitero, fue una fatalidad“.

“Besides, we trained a great deal, but this (situation) that happened to us, you can’t properly train for it. To give an example, we can train to call offside and apart from that, they are technical aspects. But that didn’t happen to us: I repeat, it was a misfortune.”

Spanish source: Ovacion, July 5, 2010.

Do you think that match officials should provide explanations to the press directly after a game the way that managers and players do? Or provide more communication with players and managers during the matches themselves?

Steve Amoia is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He writes the World Football Commentaries blog. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Italian soccer school), Football Media, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens.

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Steve is a freelance writer, editor and translator from Washington, D.C. He was the founder of World Football Commentaries in 2006. He has written for AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Soccer School), Football Media, Italian Soccer Serie A, International Herald Tribune 2006 World Cup Fan Blog, Keeper Skool and Soccerlens. Steve has also created three football-related sites: World Football, Italian Calcio and History of the Azzurri, and The Amoias of the Americas. Steve translated player and manager quotes from Italian and Spanish to English for Soccerlens during the FIFA 2010 World Cup.