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Howard Webb to ref the final


brett.spurs

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I thought Webb had a good game but wasn't great.

To describe his performance as dire, a joke etc etc is absolutely ridiculous.

Dutch football has gone down in my estimations big time since last night. Not just the way they played but the reaction of the players and fans. Mind you I'm sure we'd be the same in general.

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A pretty good couple of assessments on his performance from a couple of friends (who are both referees)

Spanish View:

Howard Webb managed to exhasperate me. Why was he so scared of showing a red card in a final? Which kind of match control did he have by dismissing a Dutch player in the 108th minute? I couldn't believe the Netherlands finished with all players on the FOP by the 90th minute. Well done in the first minutes, an early (and well deserved) yellow card on Van Bommel made me think he had watched videos of both teams, and that he was aware of Dutch's 'borderline' tackles. Nothing further from reality: he missed De Jong's tackle on Alonso, wasn't able to control Van Bommel's tackles on Busquets, Iniesta and Xavi all during the match (the step on Iniesta in that piece of playing in which the Spanish player pushed him was just horrible), and I won't mention both the push on Alonso or the tackle on Xavi into the PA as they're very likely to be understood in a different way.

Xavi's yellow card in the end of the match for delaying the restart of the game was correct... but why didn't he caution Robben for exactly the same offence just a couple of minutes early? The only difference was that Spain was winning by then, and Holland was pleading for a draw as they already had 10 players... and that Robben had been previously cautioned for dissent. The message HW sent was 'Get an early card, and you'll be able to do whatever you want as I won't card you later on the match'.

Poor, very poor HW in terms of disciplinary control. It was such a difficult match, I can assume it, and although his body language was, as always, superb, you cannot ref a match just with that. Good positioning, good fitness... but when you manage to make one team feel attacked by the other and the ref can't control that, something is not at its correct place.

Cards are a tool to control the match, the ultimate tool, and once you have told a player off several times, the next step is to show the second yellow card and not another telling off. Why was Xavi booked and Robben wasn't for doing exactly the same? Why was HW so reluctant to dismiss a player that was continuosly meriting the second yellow card (Van Bommel)? What is the point in showing an early card when you are not going to think about a second yellow card until the second half of extra time?

I understand that the match was pretty difficult. Very difficult, in fact. But, hey! It was a WC final! Did you expect it to be an easy match? If you're appointed to this match, you are presumed to be able to cope with the pressure of both teams, and the pressure of being a final itself. I understand that he can't see everything (no one of us can!) but in the end it was almost insulting the way Van Bommel tackled the Spanish midfielders without any kind of punishment.

A good referee must be capable of adapting to the environment in which he has to ref, and HW tried to stick to his domestic custom, trying sometimes to adapt to the continental understanding of the game, but he failed to do it in a consistent way. I can't say HW is a bad referee, because if I said so, I'd be as blind as a fool. He's a great referee. But yesterday he was absolutely overwhelmed by the match just because, as somebody stated above, he didn't slam the table with his fist saying 'Here I am, and that's what happens if you can't behave'.

And about Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey... just that they maybe are the best couple of ARs I've ever seen. Full stop.

English view:

I really do think a lot of people on here are looking at this with blinkered views because it was an English referee, and I certainly don't think the same amount of leeway would have been given to anyone other than Webb.

Generally he had a good game. However, it can't be said he had a very good, excellent, great, etc., game as he made some fundamental errors ....

- Failure to send off de Jong. I accept that he probably didn't have a great view, but I am astonished that some referees think that shouldn't have been a red card. Anyone that thinks that is just a caution really needs to think about their tolerance levels and offence detection.

- Failure to send off Robben for kicking the ball away. It doesn't matter that it was 0-0 at the time, as Holland had ten men and were playing for the draw. To compound this error Xavi was then cautioned for pretty much the same action.

- The clear corner given as a goal kick. Whilst it didn't affect the outcome, it was unfortunate that it came just before the Spanish goal and has given Holland something to focus on. Let's face it - that was a clanger - a shot heading towards the goal ended up going out near the corner flag so I really can't see how he got that one wrong.

- I personally think Van Bommell should have gone in the first half. He committed three cautionable offences, and the one that he was cautioned for was, in my opinion, a straight red. He had no intention whatsoever of playing the ball and came clattering through the back on Iniesta at speed. Even after he was cautioned he went on to cynically take Xavi out after he had got past him.

There seems to be this view that "he did well to keep it 11 vs 11", and that this was good for the game. I just don't buy that for one minute, and a referee's role is not to keep it 11 vs 11. Only one team were intent on using thuggery and foul play to neutralise the skills of the opponent, so in not penalising them Webb has effectively helped their tactics.

Don't get me wrong, it was an incredibly difficult game to referee, and on the whole he did well. But there were some serious mistakes so it cannot have been a great performance as some are trying to make out, and had that been a group or early knockout game he would now be on his way home for failing to send off de Jong (and probably Robben as well).

USA view:

You cannot miss a red card. You just cannot. If the kung fu kick is a caution, then the players get the message the ref is afraid to pull out the red card and you would basically have to bash an opponents' skull in to potentially see it. And that's what happened. Many more nasty challenges that also have to be yellow because they were not as bad as the kung fu kick. Ivanov got into the same trouble four years ago. Ronaldo took a set of studs in the thigh and no red card. Therefore nasty nasty game. But you can't produce the red because studs to the thigh were not. Congrats for the appointment. The better team won. Refs all survived the game. But as was mentioned earlier by someone else, the look on their faces after the game told the story. There was a critical error and they knew it.
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The game would had finished by half time due to not having required number of player on field for holland if he didnt hold back on those card. You guys complaining want a world cup final to end that way?

Then again, sending de Jong or Van Bommell off by first half might had eased up the situation quite abit.

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The twatish behaviour from both sets of players made it impossible to do his job. He either sends off De Jong and Van Bommel straight away and the game is over, or he gives them a yellow and people complain he hasn't sent them off, just no way he was going to come out of that game looking good and it was all due to the players being little *****. I'd rather he sent everyone that deserved it off which would have killed the game (who cares, it was crap anyway) and maybe the final being a complete farce would have tempted Fifa to stamp out the blatant cheating that was going on between both sides, Holland kicking everything that moved and Spain constantly surrounding the ref waving cards, diving to the floor. Both teams were pretty disgusting to watch.

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The game would had finished by half time due to not having required number of player on field for holland if he didnt hold back on those card. You guys complaining want a world cup final to end that way?

Then again, sending de Jong or Van Bommell off by first half might had eased up the situation quite abit.

Yes! If one side is a bunch of thugs then yes! Send them all home with red cards. The match was poor and filled with harsh tackles and unsportsmanship, so if players can't control them, send them home. If Holland had two players sent off, and spain scored five or so goals, at least we would see some goals.

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Interesting quotes from WCR, thanks for that. The USA view was particularly to the point, I think. Up until de Jong's kung fu kick Webb had done everything the way he should have done. He started with reprimandes, that didn't work, then he started dishing out a couple of yellows in quick succession, that didn't work either. But failing to send off de Jong meant that for the sake of consistency he had to let too many things slide because they weren't as bad as that kick.

It also got me thinking about the Robben situation and cards for unsportly behaviour in general. While I believe it is right that moaning at the ref, kicking the ball away, waving imaginary cards etc. should be punishable offences, it doesn't sit completely right with me that in terms of punishment they are on a par with a rough tackle. Of course, it is the responsibility of a player not to do these things, and if you do them anyway you make your bed and lie in it, but imo a rough tackle is far worse so being sent off for two acts of unsportly behaviour seems harsh to me. I guess what I would consider fair is if there was a third card for unsportly behaviour, with two of those making one yellow, or one being upgraded to a full yellow if you also make a yellow card tackle to boot.

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An orange card that sends players to a sin bin for 5/10 minutes would fix alot of things that aren't really sending off worthy. Player kicks a ball away? Orange card him. Player waving imaginary card? Orange card him. Player surrounding ref trying to get a decision? Orange card him. Could quite easily stop all this type of cheating.

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Dutch football has gone down in my estimations big time since last night. Not just the way they played but the reaction of the players and fans. Mind you I'm sure we'd be the same in general.

Can understand you would not like the Dutch football or our players, but blame the fans, C'mon, that is imo normal reaction if your team lost a WC final were one decision was easy to see and missed by the ref (the corner) just before the goal. Most if not all fans of any nation would complain about that if that would happen to their national team in a final m(or club for that matter) and then slowly get in a negative spiral., Spain won, deserved, De Jong should have gotten a red, yes, but he stopped minor things to compensate for the miss of the red card for De Jong.

Now two days after, I will agree that we played badly, ugly, hard, but again, was helped by Webb because minor things went in favor of Spain very often and they were falling down easy and complaining a lot as well. He all miss judged that, I am not blaming Webb, as I can understand it is not easy to ref such a big game, were the Dutch started of bad (no ref wants to give a red card quick, while he should have done that), but you shouldn't blame the fans imo.

I am sure we will start off differently with our next games, as slowly the press in Holland also sees that what De Jong/Van Bommel did wasn't correct at all most times, and we should get a offensive MC in the place of one of the two mentioned earlier in the sentence.

For me it is over, we had the celebration today of the team for coming 2nd, now time to move on and forget how we approached/played the final, but remember the result and true deserved winner and just hope we can erase this form our memory in the coming games of Holland.

M.

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^^ Totally agree with all that. Except, how the HW lost control of the match regarding violent play, to me, turns his whole performance into a really bad one.
Yep
The game would had finished by half time due to not having required number of player on field for holland if he didnt hold back on those card. You guys complaining want a world cup final to end that way?

Then again, sending de Jong or Van Bommell off by first half might had eased up the situation quite abit.

Fully agreed, send of de Jong/Van Bommel whoever deserved it first would have, imo stopped all this by us and (still we would have lost) we would have got a better game the we got now.,
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This is still going on. :D

My view:

1. Webb should have yellow-carded Van Persie for his very first tackle (within seconds if I remember correctly), but Webb seemed reluctant to give a card so early. Fair enough.

2. The yellow for De Jong might be just: I'm not sure myself whether he saw Xabi when he tried to get the ball although I expected more from a professional world-class player.

3. Van Bommel? Nah, everybody knows.

4. Puyol? He didn't even bring Robben down. :D Only an obstruction. So, either falling or keeping running, Robben.

5. Robben should have been sent off for his petulant act.

6. I'm pretty sure it wasn't offside.

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I don't get this "the players made it hard for him" nonsense, he's got a rule book has he not? Folllow that and he'll be fine, if the players are stupid enough to continue after he's laid down the law then they deserve nothing more than to be dismissed.

I listened to the 5 live podcast yesterday Guilherme Balague was absolutely furious with his performance post match and the rest of their non-English pundits never had many positive things to say about him.

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But it's not just about applying the rules. A good referee will flex the rules slightly in order to allow a free-flowing game. He clearly tried to do this which is where people sympathise as it was such a difficult game to referee. If the players refuse to behave there is not much a referee can do. Especially being the World Cup final, you can't expect him to hand out red cards left, right and centre.

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