World Cup 2010 - Unapologetic Dutch blame Webb

Mon, 12 Jul 08:30:00 2010

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk made no apologies after his team used rough-arm tactics in an attempt to knock Spain out of their stride in a scrappy, niggly World Cup final while Dirk Kuyt and Arjen Robben pointed the finger of blame at English referee Howard Webb.

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The Dutch will have to shoulder the blame after one of the roughest World Cup finals on record, won 1-0 by Spain, produced 47 fouls, 13 yellow cards and one red.

Webb showed eight Dutch players a yellow card and sent off Netherlands defender John Heitinga in the first half of extra time.

Led by their bruising midfield enforcer Mark van Bommel, the Dutch used physical intimidation to try and knock the Spanish off their elegant passing game.

Van Bommel, who committed five of the Dutch's 28 fouls, was lucky not to get a first half red card for slicing through Andres Iniesta's left leg.

Nigel de Jong could also have followed with a chest-high tackle on Xabi Alonso in a Dutch display which at times bordered on brutal.

Van Marwijk said: "It's still our intention to play beautiful football but we were facing very good opponents.

"We committed fouls but so did both teams and that may be regrettable for a final. It's not our style but then again you play a match to win because it's a final, there's a lot of emotion, you saw that at the end of the match.

"I would love to have won the match even with not so beautiful football."

And he suggested Webb might have been influenced by Spanish media blaming the referee for the defeat by Switzerland in their opening match.

He said: "I don't think the referee controlled the match well. But let me be clear about this: the best team won the match.

"I'm trying to analyse the match as best as possible. But I read a few things about how angry Spain were at the refereeing in the first match against Switzerland.

"If you view the performance (of the referee), you'd almost think now that first match had an influence on this game now."

The South Yorkshire official was booed by Dutch fans at the final whistle and Liverpool forward Kuyt said: "We are angry that we lost because we came so close. I know you cannot blame others, but the referee favoured Spain.

"We had many more yellow cards than we deserved. That ultimately cost us the Cup."

Robben said that Spanish defender Carles Puyol should have been the first player to be sent off by referee Webb.

Puyol , already booked in the first half, committed a foul on the Dutch winger 10 minutes from time when he sped past him but Robben continued and was denied by goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

"When I got my second chance the referee should have given us a free kick and Puyol a (second) yellow card," Robben said.

"He gave the advantage but there was none as I could hardly move and the goalkeeper was too close already.

"When you play a World Cup final you need also a world class referee and - I have to be careful what I say - this was not the case for this match."

However, Robben was lucky himself not to be dismissed after deliberately playing on after the whistle had blown for an infringement. It would have been his second yellow card but Webb simply admonished him.

Reuters / Eurosport

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