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2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa


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According to BBC Sport:

Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk criticised English referee Howard Webb after his side were beaten 1-0 by Spain in the World Cup final.

The match was marred by constant foul play which led Webb to book 13 players including the dismissal of Dutchman Johnny Heitinga for two yellow cards.

"I don't think the referee controlled the match well," said Van Marwijk.

"Both sides committed fouls. That may be regrettable for a final. But the best team won the match."

Webb, 38, was booed by the Dutch supporters as he and his assistants went to collect their medals at the end of what was an extremely challenging match for the official, in which he produced a new record number of bookings for a World

In defence of my fellow-Yorkshireman, referee Howard Webb, I find the Dutch coach's criticism ironic and laughable. So he thinks the referee didn't control the match well? The thuggish tactics of the Dutch gave Webb no option but to clamp down fairly early on foul play. It's only a surprise there weren't more red cards. Had Webb applied the letter of the law, rather than erring on the side of leniency, the Dutch might well have been reduced to 7 men. Yes, seven, had all bookable offences been spotted and addressed appropriately. De Jong's chest-high and potentially life-threatening challenge, Van Bommel's second-half foul which went unnoticed by the ref and which should have brought him a second yellow card, Arjen Robben (already on a yellow card) kicking the ball away after play had stopped for an offside... (A Spaniard was subsequently yellow-carded for the same offence)

The ref made one potentially-significant incorrect decision in respect of the Dutch, when he failed to award them a corner-kick after a shot had clearly been deflected off a Spanish defender (and the 'keeper's fingertips). The alleged obstruction of Elia (just preceding the winning goal) was by no means a clear-cut offence - Elia attempted to squeeze through a narrow gap between two players, but neither of those defenders actively blocked him off; sometimes you get the decision, sometimes you don't. Otherwise, the ref did the Dutch favours by not sending them off when he probably ought to have.

Before the game, I wasn't that bothered who won, as long as it was a good match. Even though it wasn't anywhere near as pretty as it might have been, I still found it quite absorbing. As a dedicated football fan, I don't have any problem with sides employing a robust approach to counter technically superior opponents; it's all part of the game. However, the Dutch went way beyond "robust"; they were dirty and disgraced themselves and the sport, to be honest. Such a relief that Spain won in the end.

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According to BBC Sport:

In defence of my fellow-Yorkshireman, referee Howard Webb, I find the Dutch coach's criticism ironic and laughable. So he thinks the referee didn't control the match well? The thuggish tactics of the Dutch gave Webb no option but to clamp down fairly early on foul play. It's only a surprise there weren't more red cards. Had Webb applied the letter of the law, rather than erring on the side of leniency, the Dutch might well have been reduced to 7 men. Yes, seven, had all bookable offences been spotted and addressed appropriately. De Jong's chest-high and potentially life-threatening challenge, Van Bommel's second-half foul which went unnoticed by the ref and which should have brought him a second yellow card, Arjen Robben (already on a yellow card) kicking the ball away after play had stopped for an offside... (A Spaniard was subsequently yellow-carded for the same offence)

The ref made one potentially-significant incorrect decision in respect of the Dutch, when he failed to award them a corner-kick after a shot had clearly been deflected off a Spanish defender (and the 'keeper's fingertips). The alleged obstruction of Elia (just preceding the winning goal) was by no means a clear-cut offence - Elia attempted to squeeze through a narrow gap between two players, but neither of those defenders actively blocked him off; sometimes you get the decision, sometimes you don't. Otherwise, the ref did the Dutch favours by not sending them off when he probably ought to have.

Before the game, I wasn't that bothered who won, as long as it was a good match. Even though it wasn't anywhere near as pretty as it might have been, I still found it quite absorbing. As a dedicated football fan, I don't have any problem with sides employing a robust approach to counter technically superior opponents; it's all part of the game. However, the Dutch went way beyond "robust"; they were dirty and disgraced themselves and the sport, to be honest. Such a relief that Spain won in the end.

I agree. It was ugly with all those cards handed out, but I can't think of 1 that was undeserved. And Netherlands was lucky DeJong wasn't red carded; they could have had to play the last 70 minutes of regulation down a man instead of just the last 10 minutes of extra time.

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