Football

Dutch ace bemused by referee performance

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Arjen Robben has claimed Howard Webb was not up to the job of handling the World Cup final.

The Rotherham official has been slammed from both the Holland and Spain camps for his handling of Sunday's game at Soccer City. Webb dished out a record 14 yellow cards, including two for Jonny Heitinga, in what has largely been viewed as an exceptionally difficult match to control.

"It was a World Cup final," said the former Chelsea star. "You are talking about two aggressive teams who want to win. It was for the referee to control the game."

Nigel de Jong seemed incredibly lucky to have stayed on the pitch, along with team-mates Mark van Bommel and Wesley Sneijder, but Robben believes he was the victim of a gross injustice when Carles Puyol - who had already been booked - tried to stop him racing clean through when the match was still level.

He added: "It is wrong when you sit in the dressing room together and you are only talking about the referee and his very bad points.

"There were some strange decisions and for me, honestly, if you play a World Cup final, you need a world class referee. I don't know whether that was a world class performance from the referee."

Robben's main grievance was the incident involving Puyol. TV replays clearly showed Puyol tugging Robben back, only for Webb to play an advantage when the Dutch winger broke free again.

However, once Iker Casillas had raced from his goal to gather, Robben expected Webb to take further action, which did not come.

"It is very clear," he said. "He has to send him off and he has to give a free-kick. In the end there was no advantage. It cost us because I didn't go down.

"We were 10 minutes before the end of the game. If we score a goal there we can win the game. But I couldn't score because the goalkeeper was too close."

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Topics:
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World Cup

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