Footballing justice was done in the World Cup final for me with Spain beating Holland 1-0 after extra time. It was no classic, but Holland didn’t really show much ambition to play football before extra time, preferring instead to kick lumps out of the Spanish.
Spain had enough clear cut chances to wrap the game up in normal time and played the better football, they fully deserved their win. They never really got their fluent passing game up to their usual high standards, this could have been due to the extra pressure, or maybe the Dutch tactics.
The Dutch also had one or two good chances as well, and if they had taken one of them they could have punished Spain for their only real failing for me, their inability to turn possession into goals.
Holland seemed happy to sit back and soak up pressure for the majority of the match, they clearly went out with no intention of trying to play Spain at their own game, deciding instead to employ a rough em up approach.
This method of play has drawn criticism of Howard Webb’s refereeing performance, unfair criticism in my view. He was given a bit of stick at half-time by the BBC pundits for not sending off Van Bommel or De Long, or even both, and some of the remarks on twitter afterwards where beyond belief.
I can just imagine what the so called pundits would have been saying at half-time if Webb had shown two red cards to the Dutch. How he had ruined the game, or that he wanted to make a name for himself, we haven’t come here to just watch Howard Webb, etc, etc.
It just proves my theory that in some situations it dosen’t matter what a referee does because he will be wrong either way, and it just proves the point that it is almost an impossible job.
Did the match get out of hand? No, it didn’t.
Did we finish with 9 against 10 because of OTT refereeing? No, we didn’t.
And why not? Because Howard Webb did a good job.
I can understand Spanish frustrations towards Webb, as just because it is a world cup final, it dosen’t mean he has to let the opposition kick lumps out of you.
But look at the bigger picture. Webb clearly tried to let the game flow, he also tried his best to not send anyone off – with little help from the Dutch (who should count themselves lucky), he did his best to keep the game at 11 V 11 and not let it get out of hand. And for that I think he should be applauded.
And if Holland have a problem with the winning goal then thats just tough, they had enough chances to stop the Spanish attack after the incident for which they believe they should have had a free-kick, and thats not the refs fault.
They also had chances during the match that they failed to take. And in the incident between Puyol and Robben, the only reason why Robben didn’t go down was because it was outside the box.
Maybe he should have gone over, because I think that Webb would have had no option other than to send Carlos Puyol off, so again Robben only has himself to blame.
The Spanish have been the best side at the tournament for me, I know they sometimes pass the ball too much, and that sometimes there is no end product – that they can look like Barcelona without the cutting edge of Messi.
But they try to play the game the right way, and when it works out it is brilliant to watch. The much vaunted Germans couldn’t get near them in the 2nd half of the semi-final, also Portugal couldn’t get the ball off them in the round of the last 16.
They know how to keep the ball, and ok, it wan’t like watching the Brazil side of 1970 or 82, but they are a great team, and they thoroughly deserved to win the world cup.
So congratulations to Spain.