Monday, July 12, 2010

When you Lose, Blame the Ref

The Dutch players, coach and fans are all over UK referee Howard Webb, after losing to Spain in yesterday's World Cup finale (see here, here, and here). I'm no great fan of Howard Webb, and he clearly made some mistakes yesterday - Webb blew one obvious corner kick for Holland, but whether Robben should have been awarded a penalty on another play seems to me to have been a close call - but frankly the Dutch were lucky to have even 10 men on the field at the end of the game. Nigel de Jong, who was one of the players blasting Webb after the game, should have been sent off in the first half, after sticking his studs into the solar plexus of Xabi Alonso. All things considered, Webb did a decent job under very difficult circumstances.

The Dutch, famous for playing total football, played a good deal of anti-football yesterday, in a largely unsuccessful effort to harass Spain out of possession. Despite the best efforts of the ever-impressive Wesley Sneijder, Holland's midfield was simply no match for Spain's. In fact, Spain had world-class midfielders sitting on its bench, who would have started for any other side in the tournament (including Brazil).

I should add in closing that, though I have nothing against Spain, I was cheering for Holland to win. However, the better team (at least on the day) won.

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