Former England referee Howard Webb has finally admitted that he may have made a big error in the final of the World Cup 2010. The match witnessed one of the poor refereeing decisions at a major tournament. Holland were up against Spain in the final of the competition in South Africa. Spain were the clear favourites for a victory and this forced Netherlands into adopting dirty tactics as far as ending their trophy drought was concerned. Even though Netherlands had possessed some of the best players in the world, they have not been successful in a World Cup.
Keen to change this fact, Netherlands resorted to playing the hardway in order to stop Spain from playing their natural game of passing football. Up until that point, Spain had been comfortably cruising past big teams by playing a beautiful brand of football that had captivated the world. The biggest talking point in the final came when former Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong made a clear stamp on the chest of Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso. The challenge was worthy of receiving a red card in any match, butWebb appeared to go by the spirit of not sending off players in a big match.
De Jong was produced only a yellow card – a decision that was heavily criticised although it did not alter the result as Spain went on to lift the trophy. “I still thought I got it right on the pitch. So I get back into the dressing room and my assistant referee has gone to his pocket and got his phone out, and his face dropped. Of course [I should have sent him off]. Even in the first minute of a World Cup final, if I’ve seen it clearly enough,” said Webb, who retired from refereeing a few years ago.