Final reward for referee who sent off Rooney

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The Independent Online

The Argentinian referee Horacio Elizondo, who sent off Wayne Rooney in England's World Cup quarter-final against Portugal, has been rewarded with the greatest honour of all - officiating in the final in Berlin on Sunday.

The 42-year-old PE teacher from Parada Robles could hardly have asked for a more emphatic endorsement of his decision to send off Rooney for his stamp on Ricardo Carvalho, almost 10 years after taking charge of his first international. He has already been given the public support of theSepp Blatter, the president of the game's world governing body, Fifa, for his decision.

A referee since 1994, Elizondo lists his interests as golf and writing poetry, as well as reading the works of the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. He and his assistants are all from Argentina, where the France striker David Trezeguet was born and raised.

Elizondo claimed in the aftermath of England's defeat to Portugal in Gelsenkirchen he was congratulated by Sven Goran Eriksson and that the England manager had agreed Rooney had to be sent off. It seems he has not been targeted in the same way as Urs Meier, the German official who disallowed Sol Campbell's goal against Portugal in Euro 2004 and received hate mail. "For me it was a clear red card, so I didn't react to the Portuguese players," Elizondo said. "There wasshoving on both sides, but no reason to caution anybody."

The decision on Rooney's punishment looks set to be made next week, although yesterday was the deadline for him to submit his explanation.

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