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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jun 5, 2013

Henderson baffled by ref

England Under-21 skipper Jordan Henderson felt his side's disallowed goal was key as they lost 1-0 to Italy in their first European Championship game.

Craig Dawson looked to have nodded the Young Lions ahead four minutes after the restart of the Group A clash in Tel Aviv.

England players ran off in celebration, the announcer gave the goal and even put Dawson's face on the Bloomfield Stadium scoreboard - only for referee Antony Gautier to chalk the header off to mass confusion.

An apparent push by Steven Caulker in the build-up looked to be behind the decision that left Stuart Pearce's side flabbergasted, and Henderson said he found the decision 'baffling' as Lorenzo Insigne's free-kick eventually sealed victory for Italy.

"I was a little bit disappointed our goal wasn't allowed, and I think it might have been a different game,'' he told Sky Sports 2. "I didn't see anything wrong with it. I still don't know why it was disallowed. You'd probably have to ask the referee.

"I wasn't very happy with the decision to be honest. I thought the referee was pointing at the kick-off spot so everyone was celebrating. It was a good few minutes until they took a free-kick and everyone was a little bit baffled to be honest, but that's football."

England now sit bottom of their group after Israel and Norway had drawn earlier in the day but Henderson still believes progress is achievable.

"I think we could have kept the ball a little bit better, they did press us quite well high up the pitch so it was hard to get on them but we've got to pick ourselves up now," he added. "We've got another two games to go so we need to be ready for that.

"We can't get too disheartened, we've got to pick ourselves up and fight back come the next match. There are two games left and we want to win both of them to get out of the group. It doesn't really matter how you do it. We'll be ready come the next game."

Pearce said he was also surprised by the decision to disallow the goal but insisted that was not to blame for the defeat.

"We didn't play very well tonight and I think that was there for all to see," he said. "The better side won to be honest with you, they caused us problems. Their front line with their movement caused us problems and we got caught in between how to play against them.

"We didn't get any performances from our bigger players within the game as well. We can't grumble about the result, we were well beaten."

When asked whether he thought his team had taken the lead, he added: "We thought we had. I'm not sure what he's chalked the goal off for.

"I thought we stuck in the game even though we were getting dominated with possession and movement, and we've to learn from it. We didn't play well enough. If it's a correct decision, well done to the sixth official. I won't moan whoever has given the decision as long as it's the correct decision.

"The decision and the cancelled off goal isn't my focus. I thought they should have had a penalty in the first half. It evens itself out. The performance we put on tonight wasn't good enough.

"Maybe nerves has caused that but we played a hell of a lot better coming into this tournament and we'll have to play certainly better than that performance on Saturday night."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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