Players should have behaved better: Blatter

Johannesburg: Players from the Netherlands
and Spain should have behaved better during the World Cup
final, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Monday.

"It was not exactly what we have, what I have, expected
for fair play on the field of play in the final," Blatter said
at a news briefing to mark the end of the tournament.

English referee Howard Webb showed 14 yellows cards - a
record for a World Cup final - and one red for Dutch defender
John Heitinga as Spain won 1-0 in extra time last night.

Blatter refused to blame the match officials for their
handling of an often bad-tempered match, which was watched by
an estimated global television audience of 700 million people.

"It is not up to me to judge the performance of the
officials in match control," Blatter said. "I can only say it
was a very hard task that the refereeing trio had on the field
of play. They were not helped in this task."

The Netherlands team was widely criticized for using
physical tactics to stop Spain`s rhythmic passing style.

Eight different Dutch players were shown yellow cards,
with Heitinga sent off after Webb - a former policeman -
showed him a second yellow in extra-time when the score was
still 0-0. Blatter said he could not comment directly on the
conduct of the Netherlands team "even if I have seen all the
irregularities as a spectator."

"When you learn to lose you should not forget the basics
which is discipline and respect," Blatter said.

Five Spain players were booked, and influential defender
Carles Puyol came close to a red when he appeared to impede
forward Arjen Robben`s run on goal late in regulation time.

Webb allowed Robben to continue and attempt a shot.

FIFA is likely to open a disciplinary case against the
Dutch team, and can also investigate Spain.

In FIFA`s disciplinary code, article 52 relating to team
misconduct calls for national teams to be fined if at least
five players receive yellow cards in a match.

Blatter was booed by some sections in the 84,490 crowd at
Soccer City yesterday when his name was announced and he
walked on the field for pre-match ceremonies with the teams.

"I was only aware there were less vuvuzelas," Blatter
said. "I have been received like a friend, like an African, in
this country. We went on field of play it was a great moment."

Blatter awarded South Africa a 9-out-of-10 score for its
successful hosting of Africa`s first World Cup, after fears
the country could not deliver.

He also paid tribute to former South Africa president
Nelson Mandela, who was instrumental in persuading FIFA to
take the World Cup to his country. The 91-year-old icon was
briefly presented to the Soccer City crowd before the match.

"The dream was of this man. He brought the World Cup to
South Africa," Blatter said.

Bureau Report

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