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Referee Webb satisfied with job in World Cup final
July 13th, 2010 7:36PM

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TAGS:  england, netherlands, referees, spain, world cup

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[REACTION] English referee Howard Webb, who booked 13 different players and sent off Dutchman John Heitinga, says he and refereeing team were satisfied with doing a tough job in difficult circumstances in Sunday's World Cup final won by Spain, 1-0.

“We don’t feel that we had much choice except to manage the game in the way we did,” Webb said in a statement released by the Premier League on Tuesday. “We came away feeling satisfied that we’d done a tough job in difficult circumstances to the best of our abilities.

“From early on in the match, we had to make decisions that were clear yellow cards. We tried to apply some common sense officiating given the magnitude of the occasion for both sides—advising players early on for some of their tackling, sending players away when they were surrounding the officials, and speaking to their senior colleagues to try and calm them down.”

Dutch star Arjen Robben was furious Webb did not send off Spain defender Carles Puyol after he appeared to impede Robben, who had broken clear in the 82nd minute. Moments later, Robben was shown a yellow card for dissent.

Webb insisted he and his crew kept the focus on the soccer.

“It was an extremely challenging match to handle, but it would have been so for any referee,” he said. “It is one of the toughest games we will ever be involved in and we feel that we worked hard to keep the focus on the football as much as possible.”



0 comments
  1. Paul Justison
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 9:02 a.m.
    With the exception of Chile, every team played Spain the same way and this was the final, so the type of match should not have been unexpected. And as a Premier League ref, wouldn't Webb have been used to how most teams play Arsenal. At any rate, I found Webb very biased. The second yellow on Heitinga was far softer than Puyols' foul on Robben just outside the box, but no foul was called on Puyol. Was he afraid of a second yellow on Puyol? Iniesta clearly fouled van Bommel off of the ball. No call. Most disturbingly thoug, near the end of the game a Dutch free kick clearly hit the wall an dwent out for a corner. But a goal kick was given and led directly to the Iniesta goal. The Dutch desrved their cards, but the Spanish got off lightly and benefited greatly fom a blown call on what should have been a corner.

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 9:21 a.m.
    Hey Paul, Netherlands caused the worst fouls of this game I'd hate to say. De Jong should have been red carded in the 28th min.,Van Bommel caused many hard fouls, many of them yellow, another candidate for red, Van Persie another player that should have ended up with a red card after several hard challeges. I'm not saying the Puyol didn't create a foul on Robben, he wasn't playing dirty like the Netherland players were, and that is probably why Webb didn't issue a yellow to him, and if he did it would have only been a free kick out side the box not a PK like some of the other viewers out here said should have been awarded.

  1. Carl Walther
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 10:44 a.m.
    It's difficult to have any faith in a man (Webb) as a referee, who doesn't think that a karate kick to the chest doesn't warrant a red card.

  1. David V
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 12:03 p.m.
    Paul/Webb, You're clearly biased. I'm re-watching the Spain/Switzerland game which Webb also officiated. He did a horrible job there too. The comments at the source site (at least as far as 5 hours ago, are horribly biased too). Even Johann Cruiff has said that the Dutch should have gone down to 9 men in the first half. The Spaniards had very little cards going into the game (was it one or zero?) and it was clear that the Dutch were trying to take them out - and whether or not it was planned, rules should be enforced. The Spanish fouls did come, but when you have a "Flying Dutchman doing a Kung Fu kick to the chest" you start to figure you have to meet fire with fire. Spanish fouls were relatively minor. WEBB DID A HORRIBLE JOB, JUST HORRIBLE!!!

  1. David V
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 12:07 p.m.
    PS... Von Bommel came at Iniesta in the first half like he was a torpedo, aiming nowhere near the ball. That was Johann's other red infraction he was referencing. At least the best team won the tournament. Did also notice in the lone game Spain lost, to Switzerland, that it was a clear offside ? Webb happened to miss that too!

  1. Kyr-Roger St.-Denis
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 12:15 p.m.
    I thought Webb did a really good job on the final. I would quibble with the card he issued to Sergio Ramos early in the match, and I thought the card issued for the chest-stomp on Xabi Alonso should have been red instead of yellow, but otherwise his calls were fair and (despite the rantings of fans of the losing side) unbiassed. Well done, as always.

  1. Kent James
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 12:51 p.m.
    Very difficult game, credible job by the referee. Yes, he should have red carded De Jong for the cleat to the chest, but he didn't want to essentially award the game to Spain at that point (and I don't know what De Jong was thinking, but I think it was an awkward attempt to play the ball rather than a conscious attempt to karate kick Xavi Alonso). Between the fouls and the dives, Webb and his team had their hands full. Webb did not fall for all the dives (though he fell for some), and probably carded a few things that should not have been carded (though most cards were good), and certainly let slide some things that often draw automatic cards (I think Van Persie and Robben both took shots after Webb had blown his whistle for fouls, which usually draws a yellow card, but both already had cards so Webb gave them the benefit of the doubt). I would guess Webb would recognize there were some errors, but given how difficult a game it was, and the somewhat nasty tone of much of the game, the referees could have done a lot worse. Webb and his crew are right to be satisfied with the job they did.

  1. Paul Justison
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 12:52 p.m.
    Hey, I said I believed the Dutch cards were deserved. I thought Webb did a poor job because of his blown calls that all seemed to favor Spain. As far as de Jong, I think it is too easy to form an opinion just on the many pictures of de Jong's spikes in Alonso's chest. Watch a replay though. It appears to me that de Jong is attempting to play the ball, when Alonso comes into the picture and suddenly looks away - seeing de Jong's boot coming? - and the ball glances off his head. You are suppossed to play under control, so clearly a foul, but a red? In fact a similar play happenned when Uruguay played Holland. An Uruguayan player attempted a bycycle kick near the Dutch goal and hit de Zeeuw square on the chin. The dutch weren't all that upset, it was clearly not intentional and no red was given. I think Spain winning was a fair result, but Webb did a very poor job and helped them win with the blown corner call. By the way, the bias continues on this site, as above in the text it says, "defender Carles Puyol after he appeared to impede Robben". Anyone looking at that play with any knowledge of soccer would not put "appeared to" in the sentence. Puyol clearly impeded him and he was the second to last defender.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 2:05 p.m.
    Hola folks, with the exception of Paul J, have anyone else ever offciated a game at whatever level, kindergarden, scholastic, recreational, competitive club, college, amateur, semi-or pro ball? Those of us that have, have a different perspective and are able to make specific observations that many do not even see or understand. But if you've only been a player, team administrator, coach, water boy, and never whistled a game, in order to get a good grasp of the Laws of the Game, join your local soccer/futbol referee group and see what it is like. Webb did a "commendable job," and could've done better, and no matter at what level Webb whistled a game, he'll be criticized, cut, sliced, sauteed, and whatever else. PLAY ON!

  1. David Huff
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 2:35 p.m.
    Webb was, in a word - "Awful" (and yes, i have officiated in club and recreational).

  1. Karl Ortmertl
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 4:59 p.m.
    Webb's refereeing "style" exemplifies what's wrong with soccer. His reputation in the Premier League is as one who "Let's them Play". What that really means is that he let's them maim. Putting this guy in the WC final was a complete disaster. The Dutch knew that this guy wasn't going to throw anyone out of the match unless they literally stabbed someone, so their strategy was to goon it up. I put most of the responsibility for the disasterous final on Webb and the people who selected him. He shouldn't have even been in the country.

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 8:53 p.m.
    Mr. Fonseca, I think you have missed the all around picture of the game. Referee's are people who have volunteered to be referee's meaning no one has forced them to be ref's so when you step up to bat, you'd better be ready to bat, I do understand that at times players can be in the way blocking the ref's vision and other things can be distracting at times, I'm surprised that I do catch the fouls or offside's while the ref doesn't. I want FIFA to instill rules to aid and help the ref's form making these bad decisions/calls, I think if this had been done before the World Cup started you might have seen two other National Teams in the Finals instead of Spain and the Netherlands!

  1. Christopher Holden
    commented on: July 14, 2010 at 10:36 p.m.
    Paul Justison hit the nail on the head. There were several instances in the game where the calls looked biased. Certainly the second yellow was ridiculous since Iniesta asked for the second yellow card straight away, as if the plan was to get Heitinga tossed since there were no more lineup changes (on the Dutch side) and they (Spain) did not want to go to a shootout. The Dutch helped this plan by playing Rafael Van der Vaart at center back as soon as Heitinga was tossed. Nice pass from Cesc Fábregas to Iniesta on the winning goal. I certainly would not want to be Van der Vaart right now - he blew it big time. PJ you are 100% correct but nobody will remember that in 4 years (except you) ... Spain WON 1 - 0.

  1. James Madison
    commented on: July 15, 2010 at 12:05 a.m.
    The final was an extremely difficult game to manage, as the Dutch played "robustly," as some of our English commentators would say, to compensate for the fact that collectively they were not as skilled as the Spain side and then added chronic whining to boot. In any situation except the first half of a WCup final, I believe a send-off would have resulted from De Jong sticking his cleats into Alonso's chest. However, if you know of a fan anywhere without a strong Spain bias who wanted to see the Dutch play 70 minutes with 10 players as the result of an arguable decision, I will throw in with you. In the context of the match, the Van Persie and Robben "kick-aways" were trifling. Van Bommel, who seemed to get a pass from everyone who officiated him, even the Japan guy who, I think, did a wonderful job in the Netherlands-Brazil match, should maybe have been given caution for his first half foul on Iniesta and then sent off on a second yellow, putting the Dutch down to nine in the late stages, but that is little to take away from a game that no CR could probably have managed any better.

  1. Bill Richter
    commented on: July 15, 2010 at 12:57 a.m.
    @ Kerry Ogden: Mr. Fonseca stated nothing that brought into question whether referees are volunteers or not, your reply was the perfect non sequitur. It's easy to catch the fouls when you have instant replay from 6 different angles, no wonder you catch them when the referees do not. Players are smart enough to know where the referee is, and smart enough to know when and where his vision is impeded. The referee's job is to place himself in the best position available, Webb's positioning was pretty well spot-on. I've not seen or refereed a game at any level where the officials didn't miss something. I saw a couple of mistakes by Webb, and a missed opportunity in the first or second minute to set the tone, it may or may not have changed the method of play by the Dutch. He certainly was not as error-prone as a lot of the other officials in this WC, nor a lot of the announcers.

  1. Kenneth Barr
    commented on: July 15, 2010 at 1:36 a.m.
    Given the Dutch approach, Howard Webb had little choice. I have a few quibbles, but over all, his crew did a good job. I would have showed red for the kung fu kick but i also would have played advantage as I believe Spain had a goal scoring opportunity there. The card can be given at the next natural stoppage. In extra time, the free kick did appear to deflect off a Spanish player in the wall, so a corner should have been given rather than a goal kick. What I don't hear much of is the shockingly bad finishing, particularly by the Dutch. It was so bad that Johann Cruyff, Johann Neeskeens, Ruud Gullit and Marko van Basten must have been felt obligated to suit up. The level of finishing was crystallized when van Persie shot after he was called off side and hit the far post with the goal at his mercy. Even when they didn't count, they missed.

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: July 15, 2010 at 8:22 a.m.
    Sorry to disapoint you Bill Richter, I catch alot of the fouls in play, the instant replay confirms what I saw during the play! and you don't seem to understand that Mr.Fonseca is complaining about refs being blamed for bad calls and that fact that I do support additional help in resolving possibly bad calls during play!!! You need to understand that these players are human like yourself and are subject to making bad decisions during the game, ONE bad call can offset the game and in the case with De Jong, if Webb had issued a red card when the incident between Alonso and De Jong happened, it might have deterred the Netherlands from the rough house tatics!!!


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