Johannesburg: Dutch stars Arjen Robben
and Nigel de Jong launched a bitter attack on English referee
Howard Webb after Holland had succumbed to Andres Iniesta`s
injury-time winner in the World Cup final.
Spain lifted their first ever World Cup after a largely
forgettable affair in which Holland had John Heitinga
dismissed in extra-time for a second booking while seven
others were yellow carded in a niggly affair at Soccer City
And as the Dutch tried to hold out, Iniesta struck to
condemn the Netherlands to their third World Cup final defeat
in three appearances.
But Robben was incensed when seven minutes from normal
time Carles Puyol escaped punishment when he seemed to impede
the Dutch flyer as he raced in on Iker Casillas`s goal.
Puyol appeared to use his arm to hinder Robben`s flow and
Casillas came out to block the striker, who had gamely tried
to remain on his feet.
"As a player, you always try to keep going, but for them
to score a goal (four) minutes before the end was tough. It
made things very difficult for us," said the Bayern Munich
"We kept trying to get something out of the game, but the
dressing room was a pretty depressing place.”
"We sat there in the dressing room and only talked about
some of the refereeing decisions.”
"There were a few things which were hard to take, but
there is no point talking about them now."
Puyol had already been booked at that point and had Webb
adjudged him to have fouled Robben, then a second yellow would
have been brandished, given he was the last man and Robben was
through on goal.
De Jong, who was shown only a yellow card when he jumped
up, studs showing, and caught Spain`s Xabi Alonso in the
chest, said he felt the major calls went the Spaniards` way.
Just before Spain scored, Holland should have had a
corner when a Wesley Sneijder shot was deflected behind.
But a goal-kick was given and Spain went straight up the
other end to snatch the winner.
"There were a few curious decisions in the game, but that
is football," moaned De Jong.
"You have to keep going and keep fighting, but it was
hard. Webb made some curious decisions, especially the last
bit from Spain, it was a corner for us, as Spain had deflected
the ball, but we didn`t get the decision.”
"It is always easy to blame the referee, but we didn`t
control the game.”
"These are important decisions which didn`t go our way,
but that is just the way it goes.”
"It has been a long season and we have learned from the
However, De Jong did not lay all the blame at Webb`s
"Nowadays the pressure is so great for the referees, they
are told what to do by FIFA," he added, before defending the
rough nature of the game.
"It is a final, so everyone did everything they could to
win no matter what, it was the same for both sides, we had
some fouls, so did they. This is your once in a lifetime
"Football is football, maybe I am a little old school,
but I remember the games back in the days when there were
worse fouls which never even got booked."