When Ruud van Nistelrooy scored the Netherlands' first goal in yesterday's Euro 2008 match, Dutch and Italian fans alike waited for the offsides call. It didn't come, leaving the Italians incensed, the Dutch warily pleased, and the officials defiant. UEFA confirmed today that van Nistelrooy wasn't offsides thanks to a little-known rule, AP reports.
"The goal was not offside because in addition to the Italian goalkeeper, there was another Italian player in front of the goal scorer. And even though that player at the time had actually fallen off the pitch, his position was still relevant for the purposes of the offside law," explained a UEFA official. The 3-0 defeat was Italy's worst ever in the European Cup finals.