Howard Webb gave a whooping 15 cards (14 yellow, 1 red) in the final Worldcup. One might as well call him the trigger-man for the match. Nonetheless, Howard always does it his way. One things for sure: No holidays in Holland for his family no more.
Nobody, in his right mind,would ever want to step into Webb’s shoes on Sunday. Believe me, you! He has been slandered and booed for his decisions at the final match. I still cant believe none of the Dutchmen studded him right across the face for his haphazard bookings. Here’s a brief outlook on his calls at the players.
15′ Robin van Persie booked for a heavy challenge on Joan Capdevila. Good decision
16′ Carles Puyol booked for a tackle from behind on Arjen Robben. Good decision
22′ Mark van Bommel booked for a bad tackle from behind on Andres Iniesta. Borderline red, should at least have been a final warning. Should then have gone for persistent fouling, and kicking the ball into a prone Xavi.
23′ Sergio Ramos booked for a tit-for-tat trip on Dirk Kuyt. Good decision.
28′ Nigel De Jong booked for planting his studs into Xabi Alonso’s chest. Bad decision. A clear red card for an appalling challenge.
42′ Wesley Sneijder not booked for planting his studs in Sergio Busquets’s thigh.
54′ Giovanni van Bronckhorst booked for a block on Sergio Ramos. Tame by this game’s standards, but probably correct.
56′ Johnny Heitinga booked for a strong challenge on David Villa. Good decision.
67′ Joan Capdevila booked for a cynical foul on the marauding Robin van Persie. Good decision.
84′ Arjen Robben booked for mouthing off to the referee. We don’t know what Robben said, but he protested furiously.
92′ Spain penalty appeal for an alleged foul by Joris Mathijsen on Xavi. Replays showed Xavi kicked Mathijsen and Webb got it right.
109′ Johnny Heitinga second yellow card for pulling back Iniesta. Good decision, even though Iniesta made the most of it.
112′ Gregory van der Wiel booked for a trip on Iniesta. Borderline, fairly tame.
114′ Arjen Robben not shown a second yellow card for kicking the ball away after being correctly flagged offside.
115′ Spanish goal-kick after Arjen Robben’s free-kick takes a big deflection off the wall, and Iker Casillas also gets a touch. Terrible decision, how did referee and linesman both miss that?
116′ Furious Dutch claims of a foul on Eljero Elia in the build-up to Iniesta’s goal. Good decision by Webb, the substitute went down much too easily.
116′ Half-hearted appeals for offside against both Cesc Fabregas and Iniesta for the goal. Both good decisions.
117′ Andres Iniesta booked for removing his shirt after scoring. Good decision – the rules are the rules. But sad that Iniesta’s tribute to Espanyol captain Dani Jarque, who died last year, earned the same punishment as De Jong’s assault.
117′ Joris Mathijsen booked for protesting Iniesta’s goal by slamming the ball into the ground. Good decision
120′ Xavi booked for kicking the ball away. Good decision.
Was his job a difficult one? Well for starters, The Netherlands attempted to slide tackle anything on legs. Their play was wild and dirty, I admit. At times they went on and on despite the severity of a foul. On this, Johann Cruyff criticized Webb for not sending off more Dutchmen. On the other hand, The Sun complimented Webb by claiming: “Webb kept his head while players lost theirs.”
In my opinion, Webb did a decent job. Where the Dutch were scuffling for the ball and the players, the Spaniards were questioning his every decision and protesting to an irritating limit. The Dutch slandered him for being too harsh while the Spanish side mocked him for being too lenient. Still, he held on to what was expected of him.
All in all, this just wasn’t a Classic Worldcup Final as everybody expected. Only Paul, The Psychic Octopus managed to elevate his reputation despite receiving death threats! My concern now: the outrageous difference in timezone between Pakistan and Brazil. Till 2014, this chapter is a closed one!