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Player ratings - World Cup final

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Chris Bevan | 23:28 UK time, Sunday, 11 July 2010

Spain are now champions of the world as well as kings of Europe after Andres Iniesta struck right at the end of a tense World Cup final to clinch a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands.

All in all, it wasn't a classic was it? There were more bookings - 14 - than clear-cut chances, although the game did open up towards the end, and English referee Howard Webb was a busy man as he tried to keep the peace.

Here are my player ratings. You might disagree with some of them, but that is the name of the game, so feel free to put me right below.



Maarten Stekelenburg 8 The Ajax goalkeeper shrugged off a hip injury that had dogged him since the semi-final and enjoyed his best game of the tournament. Made a superb save to keep out an early Sergio Ramos header from Xavi's free-kick, and repeated the trick in extra-time, when he came off his line to deny Cesc Fabregas with an outstretched leg after the Arsenal midfielder ran clear. He got a hand to Iniesta's winner but the power of the shot left him with no chance.

Gregory van der Wiel 6 Right-back who looked a lot better going forward than he did when he was defending, and got lucky a couple of times when he failed to clear his lines. His opposite number Joan Capdevila did not venture forward much but, when he did, Van der Wiel needed Mark van Bommel's help to subdue him.

John Heitinga 6 Will be remembered for being the fifth player to be sent off in a World Cup final when he received his second yellow card for dragging back Iniesta in extra-time. His first booking had come for a late challenge on David Villa in one of a number of first-half fouls by the Dutch but he had earlier saved his team's skin when, after making a hash of a low Jesus Navas cross, he recovered to get a vital block to keep out Villa's shot.

Joris Mathijsen 6 Clumsy but effective stopper who made a couple of vital interceptions when Spain were pressing in the second half. Had some chances at the other end too but lack of quality showed when he failed to connect with Van Bommel's pass from a Wesley Sneijder cross, and he also headed over with a more difficult opening in extra-time.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst (sub Edson Braafeat 105 mins) 7 Despite the result, the Dutch skipper can be proud of his last game for club or country as he brought his long career to an end. There have long been question marks over his defending but he was a cool presence at the back and his know-how allowed him to cope with the pace of Navas before he was replaced in extra-time.

Mark van Bommel 7 Arguably lucky to still be on the pitch at half-time after a series of fouls but was only shown yellow for one of them, when he went right through Iniesta with a typically no-nonsense challenge. He is never going to be the most popular player on the pitch but, by fair means or foul, he did his job, which was to disrupt the rhythm of the Spanish side and break up play.

Nigel de Jong (sub Rafael van de Vaart 99 mins) 7 While Van Bommel was disciplined and held his position, De Jong was more mobile and given the task of chasing and harrying. Took his all-action tag a bit too far with a karate kick into Xabi Alonso's chest but referee Webb rightly gave him the benefit of the doubt. Again, a spoiler - but an effective one.

Wesley Sneijder 7 Showed his class with the pass that released Arjen Robben for the chance that could - and maybe should - have won the World Cup but, otherwise, his undoubted creative nous was restricted to set-pieces that did not cause Spain too many problems. His other memorable moment was a superbly-timed tackle to stop Iniesta, who had burst into the box. Can still look back on an impressive tournament but ultimately he could not add international success to his multitude of club honours with Inter Milan last season.

Dirk Kuyt (sub Eljero Elia 71 mins) 6 A typically industrious performance on the left flank but he had his hands full dealing with the rampaging runs of Sergio Ramos and contributed a lot less than was expected going forward.

Arjen Robben 7 Will be haunted by his failure to convert when he ran clean through on goal in the second half but that should go down as a super Iker Casillas save rather than a bad miss on his part. Robben was a constant menace to the Spanish defence with his intelligent movement and also forced Casillas into another decent low stop before the break. Came into the tournament unfit and developed a reputation for going to ground too easily when he did begin to feature in games but it should be remembered that he stayed on his feet when Carles Puyol tried to haul him back, and ended up with a yellow card for his troubles.

Robin van Persie 5 As he has been all tournament, a disappointment. Had a difficult role as a lone striker, and only had scraps to feed on for most of the game, but the Arsenal striker could not impose himself on Gerard Pique or Puyol and the only impression he made on the game was a couple of clattering tackles on Sergio Busquets and Joan Capdevila, which saw him the first of eight Netherlands players to be booked. Perhaps surprising that Klaas Jan Huntelaar did not replace him at some stage.


Eljero Elia (replaced Kuyt 70 mins) 5 It seemed a long time before he touched the ball when he came on and he had to drop increasingly further back to try to see the ball. More to come from him in the future I'm sure but we did not see his electric pace in the right areas and he had a minimal impact.

Rafael van der Vaart (replaced Nigel de Jong 98 mins) 5 Playmaker by trade but mainly used in a defensive role when he came on, and was the man who played Iniesta onside for the Dutch winner.

Edson Braafeat (replaced Giovanni van Bronckhorst 105 mins) 6 Replaced a tired Van Bronckorst deep in extra-time and is likely to be his long-term successor when qualifying for Euro 2012 begins. Was out of position for the Spanish goal but the whole Dutch defence was stretched after Heitinga's red card.


Iker Casilla 8 The Spain goalkeeper admitted he was feeling nervous before kick-off but did not play like it. Will be remembered for his one-on-one save that denied Robben and also got down well at his near post to deny the same player. Did everything asked of him.

Sergio Ramos 7 Had an intriguing duel with Dirk Kuyt in the first half and got the better of him on at least one occasion, smashing a shot across the face of goal that Heitinga had to hack clear, but was also guilty of wasting a golden opportunity when he headed over from Xavi's corner when completely unmarked in front of goal.

Gerard Pique 7 He has had some forgettable moments during his campaign in South Africa and he looked uncomfortable again when Arjen Robben ran at the Spanish defence but that was the only time he looked vulnerable. Otherwise he and Puyol were rarely seriously tested.

Carles Puyol 7 His lack of pace was exposed by, you guessed it, Robben and he was lucky that the Dutch forward stayed on his feet rather than going to ground early in the second half. But that remains his only real weakness and he dominated Van Persie from start to finish.

Joan Capdevila 6 Struggled to keep Robben in check whenever he tried his luck down the right and was probably grateful when he moved across to try his luck in the middle. Also wasted a half-chance at the other end from Puyol's flick

Xabi Alonso (sub Cesc Fabregas 87 mins) 6 Was on the wrong end of that wild De Jong challenge and played some probing passes early on but struggled to impose himself on the game for long periods, especially when the tackles were flying in.

Xavi 8 Another to be disrupted by the Netherlands' physical approach and was far from at his best but, even when Spain were short of ideas, he seemed to be behind most of their best work going forward. it was his fantastic pass that set Fabregas free in extra-time.

Sergio Busquets 8 Kept the Spanish midfield ticking over when the Netherlands' spoiling tactics threatened to knock them out of their stride. His steadying presence meant they stayed on top in that vital area.

Andres Iniesta 9 (man of the match) Made a quiet start but hardly wasted a pass after half-time. Was also happy to roam from right to left, looking for space and opportunities and got his reward late on when he was in the right place to latch on to Fabregas's pass to smash home a brilliant winner.

Pedro (replaced Jesus Navas 60 mins) 7 Spain's liveliest player early on and happy to do things on his own if he had to. Tried his luck from range and not afraid to run at the Dutch defence but faded after half-time.

David Villa (replaced Fernando Torres 105 mins) 6 Was not the threat he has been throughout this tournament. Started centrally, rather than on the left where he has been most effective and, although he was lively throughout, his best chance of adding to his five-goal tally saw his shot blocked by Heitinga.


Jesus Navas (rep Pedro 60 mins) 7 Pacey winger who hugged the right touchline and delivered one dangerous low cross, but that was his best moment.

Cesc Fabregas (rep Xabi Alonso 87 mins) 8 Had a huge say in the outcome of the game despite his late introduction. Had a chance to score himself but even after missing that, he continued to prompt Spain's attacks and it was his pass that set up the winner.

Fernando Torres (rep David Villa 105 mins) 6 Was involved in the build-up to Iniesta's goal but his unhappy tournament ended with him lying on the ground at the final whistle after he pulled a hamstring in the dying seconds.


Howard Webb 8 Handed out 14 yellow cards in all - including two to Heitinga - and England's representative had to earn his corn at Soccer City Stadium. Might have shown red instead of yellow to Van Bommel and De Jong in the first half but got most of his decisions spot on. However, the only decision he definitely got wrong - awarding a goal-kick when the Netherlands should have had a corner for a deflected free-kick - resulted in Spain's winner a couple of minutes later.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Sad to see Howard Webb booed by the Dutch fans at the end, the decisions definitely balanced out over the course of the game.

  • Comment number 2.

    Quite alot of the ratings too high

  • Comment number 3.

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  • Comment number 4.

    Understandable. The redcard for heitinga en not puyol earlier against Robben? With a few minutes not given a corner, 1 minut later a foul on Elia 30 seconds later the goal. Discissions who influence the end of the game. The corner and foul has given the Dutch a change.

    Spain where better than the Dutch but the way who Webb handles the last minutes was very disappointed.

  • Comment number 5.

    The rankings are spot-on. Iniesta was definately man of the match. Both keepers also did very well and as always Spain won the battle in the midfield.

    Im an ardent Dutch supporter and was gutted to see Spain win,...but I must say that the better team on the night (Spain) were deserved winners of the world-cup.

    I really hope we (Dutch) get the opportunity to win the world-cup again - in my lifetime.

  • Comment number 6.

    Howard Webb may have got the goal kick wrong, but the goal had nothing to do with that. Decisions go for and against you all the time and the Dutch lost concentration. As a neutral I was glad Spain won as Holland did not cover themselves in glory with their 8 bookings, and in all probability could have ended the game with 8 or 9 men.

  • Comment number 7.

    i dont care how accidental the De Jong challenge was, its a red card without a doubt. Webb knew what happened, it seemed he just didnt want to spoil the spectacle, which isnt neccassarily a bad thing. Although Howard missed the fact it was a corner for Holland, you can hardly blame him for that. Holland had more than enough time to re-organise. Plus, Holland got the ball back before Spain scored.

    it also wasnt a free kick in my opinion, he was looking for it, and he had more than enough time to send in a cross.

    For me Xavi was actually quite dissapointing. Iniesta was immense, and Fabregas was an inspired substitution. Hollands best player was Van Bronckhorst, he was a cool head in an otherwise bad tempered Holland team

  • Comment number 8.

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  • Comment number 9.

    Think chris saw a different game to me with those marks and to say that de jong's karate kick was not a sending off just defies belief.

  • Comment number 10.

    Who was worse Howard Webb or the English football team? Webb "bottled" a lot of decisions. Van Bommel, De Jong and Sneijder had no business being on the pitch at half time. The Dutch clearly came to kick the Spanish of the park and with Webb's help succeeded. A poor Dutch team that insulted the Dutch masters 0f 74 & 78

  • Comment number 11.

    Howard Webb 4: Failed to take control of the game from the start by sending off the ludicrously lucky Mark Van Bommel, who committed 3 to 4 yellow-card tackles in the first 25 minutes. After that, the players made it as difficult for him as possible by diving and petty fouling, although he did not completely lose control. He made quite a few errors when judging between goal kicks and corners, then refused to blow for a blatant obstruction that led directly to the winning Spanish goal.

  • Comment number 12.

    You cannot seriously believe that Howard Webb should get an 8 for that performance. 6 would be the correct score.
    As regards the players, you have also marked them all too high. This was one of the worst games of football ever shown on television.

  • Comment number 13.

    Holland keeper did well, refs should put a end toa ll this player running up to thhe ref and complaining tho! ruins the game! just play football, but other than that very sad to see the world cup leave SA

  • Comment number 14.

    Sorry i have to disagree, but I don't understand the rating on Webb, its a bit chauvinistic. He was wrong on many decision: there was a lot of spanish dives he rewarded with free kicks and even cautioning dutch players after spanish dives, not cautioning spanish players when he should. Webbs mistakes sadly were decisive in this match. Players should not take it out on the referee, but you can understand the dutch players were upset with Webb after the match.
    England should understand. They are upset after one obvious mistake in their match against Germany. Webb made many decisive mistakes in this match.

  • Comment number 15.

    Howard Webb bottled it as in Carling Cup final where he neither gave a penalty or sent off Vidic. De Jong, Bommell and Robben should have gone if he follows the rules and guidelines. Best team won but I think Holland followed the best gameplan they could to steal victory. Man of match .. Robben followed by Van Bommell.

  • Comment number 16.

    Chris Bevan did you watch the match ?? Torres 6 !! A 1 more like, he did absolutely nothing. Webb 8 !! If Holland had won I think people would be very critical of Webb's performance. Casilla 8 !! Robben hit his foot with his shot, the only real Dutch shot of the game !!

  • Comment number 17.

    Come one, that was a really tough game for a referee and that's the fault of the players who behaved so poorly. Yes he got a minor decision wrong near the end but that pales in comaprison to the way he handled a torrent of foul play.

    Iniesta was the best outfield player for me (even without the goal), but the two goalkeepers were probably the best on display overall. An interesting final rather than an exciting one, but the World Cup has recovered well from its dire first week.

  • Comment number 18.

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  • Comment number 19.

    Anyone else notice how everytime Fabregas came on all their attacks were centered through him? He was the first player they all looked for, and even Xavi preferred the easy pass to Fabregas than try anything.

    Thought he was used brilliantly by Del Bosque throughout the tournament to open up teams that Xavi and Co failed and it was fitting that he got the assist for the goal.

    Credit the Dutch as well, my £20 placed in April on them to win the World Cup almost paid off.

  • Comment number 20.

    I felt Howard Webb kept control of what was a very difficult game to referee. He booked players at the right times and the Netherlands' persistent fouling (especially in the first half) caught up with them in the end with Heitinga's second yellow.

    I agree that Van Bommel could easily have been sent off in the first half but he made only one really bad challenge (that got him booked) and a few others that might have earned him a second yellow for persistent fouling.

    Still, the fact he was on a yellow did have the effect of stopping Van Bommel from continuing his rough-house tactics after the break, which is when the game started to open up a bit.

    I stand by what I said about De Jong - there is no way he meant it. Webb dealt with that incident from that point of view... he did not duck out of that decision.

    In terms of the players, with hindsight I might have been a bit too generous with Robin van Persie (who I gave a 5 to, but was almost completely anonymous).

    But I don't think any other individual had a shocking game that deserved 3s or 4s. It was a closely-fought game and not a thriller, but that does not mean everybody performed badly. Give me some examples if you disagree though!

  • Comment number 21.

    Thought Webb managed to keep the game flowing....lesser refs would have crumbled with the responsibility. Should have shown a straight red to De Jong in the first half, and Van Bommel (such a dirty player) should have had 2 yellows in the first 35 minutes.

    However, I would like to have seen any ref (FIFA or plain wannabe) do better. Would not have happened.

  • Comment number 22.

    Well Chris, explain Fernando Torres 6 ? and Iker Casilla 8
    "Did everything asked of him" which was almost nothing except luckily Robben hitting his foot. How is that an 8 ???

  • Comment number 23.

    Wouldn't quibble with your player ratings but there is no way that Howard Webb's performance was worth more than a 5.

    Had he not bottled it in the first half and instead handed out a red card to at least one Dutch player, he would not have ended up dishing out 14 yellow cards. This was weak refereeing which ultimately spoiled the game as a spectacle.

  • Comment number 24.

    8 to Howard Webb????? Are you crazy? He's the worst referee in years!!!!!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Waddle had it right-the Dutch on the night were uncontrolable. Webb gets a seven for me for dealing well overall with a filthy side whilst trying his best to keep it 11 v 11. He got some decisions wrong, so what? Robben missed two 1 on 1s and still got a 7 from this blogger.

    What has been evident to me from the start of the tournament is that Spain are a defensive side. They commit very few players forward normally and hope their quality will eventually shine through. It wouldn't suprise me if they have scored less goals than any other world cup winning team (I haven't checked). They are the best in the world right now, but this isn't the future of football, as some would have you believe.

    Most Spain players get 6s and 7s from me, which is what Holland tried to kick out of them. The Dutch mainly get 4s and 5s, as due to a few exceptions, they are terrible on the ball.

    Overall a poor World Cup, lots of wild shots and overhit passes, mainly due to that stupid ball.

  • Comment number 26.

    Thought Holland were a disgrace. They put Howard Webb in an impossible position and at the end of the day he took the correct line of piling on the yellow cards.

    How the Dutch manager has the cheek to say "I don't think the referee controlled the match well,"

    and "But if you look at the second chance of Robben, the referee should give Puyol a second yellow card, which would have meant him being sent off." is completely beyond me.

    Would he have preferred his team down to 9 men by half time????

  • Comment number 27.

    "De Jong... with a karate kick into Xabi Alonso's chest but referee Webb rightly gave him the benefit of the doubt"

    What??? Have I read it right??? Webb RIGHTLY (???) didn't show a red card for a karate kick??? De Jong got booked so Webb saw it. Having seen it there is no other chance than giving a red card, no other referee in the world would have committed such a MASSIVE mistake. Do you have to rate him positively just cause he's English? I have no words for the disgraceful performance of Howard Webb. I have never seen so many referee mistakes in one match let alone in a WC match. Worst referee performance ever and a very bad one for football. Players might feel encouraged to commit brutal fouls in next finals.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    "23. At 01:00am on 12 Jul 2010, Rob Wiseman wrote:

    Wouldn't quibble with your player ratings but there is no way that Howard Webb's performance was worth more than a 5.

    Had he not bottled it in the first half and instead handed out a red card to at least one Dutch player, he would not have ended up dishing out 14 yellow cards. This was weak refereeing which ultimately spoiled the game as a spectacle."

    Exactly! Webb was the one who spoiled a world cup final by not doing his job, the game became so violent cause he did not stop dirty fouls and the players noticed he would never have the guts to make any decisions

  • Comment number 30.

    It would have been a dark day for Football had Holland won. They've no class, just kick lumps out of their opponents! It was a shame that Torres couldn't get into the tournament. He wasn't fully fit or match sharp and now looks like he's injured yet again.

  • Comment number 31.

    Also, what about all the spanish trying to get every dutch player booked for every single tackle (wether they had dived to win it or not!!)

    I though you were meant to get booked for brandishing an imaginary card?????

    WHat a bunch of cheating whingeing conmen!!

    I hope Scotland boot the poop out of them in the Euro Qualifying!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    I've just come out of the pubs here in cloggiestan and they've been havin a go at Webb....sour grapes the best team won plain and simple

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    Jim Sprout
    A BIG thanks mate. I was beginning to think that I was insane. All of your views I would endorse. Spain (they remind me of Arsenal) are not the future of the game. It is not " beautiful" football in the way tha Brazil played it and won the world cup. OK they pass it nicely in midfield, have a midget up front who is a great player admittedly but says it all really. No width and no headers apart from corners. The ball has contributed to this being a very poor world cup in my opinion. Sorry but this Spain way will last this year and thats it. They will go another 60 years before they win it again.

  • Comment number 35.

    Just glad I watched the 3rd place play-off.
    Spain's win means that New Zealand was the only team undefeated at this World Cup! Well done All Whites!

  • Comment number 36.

    The dutch were the more entertaining team over the whole cup - 2-1 v Brazil? 3-2 v uruguay?

    Much more entertaining the 1-0 spain!!
    Just like boring old arsenal:)!!!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    Well done Spain and I cant believe the comments by the Dutch coach about Webb, frankly Holland were not a team that could ever be mentioned in the same breath as Total Football. I would be unhappy if my country (Scotland) played like that against Spain but a Dutch team with quality players throughout should never be playing like that, they went out from minute 1 not just to press and tackle hard or frustrate but foul foul foul. Very disappointed in there performance.

    Webb did really well I thought and I think that more credit has to go to referees when they have a good game as they often get slaughtered for one bad decision but their good games go unnoticed, ok the goal kick rather than corner was a bad call but if Robben can be forgiven for his miss and the Dutch can be forgiven for there spoiling tactics I think we can forgive him that one.

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm not a great fan of referees but in this case I thought Webb had a good game. The Dutch were horrible, kicking anything that moved and they deserved all the yellows. What was the difference between De Jong's chest-high kick and Zidane's head butt 4 years ago? De Jong was very lucky to stay on the field; I wouldn't have blamed Webb at all if he had sent him off, others would. They offered nothing in attack, apart from Robben's two breakaways, whereas the Spanish tried to win the game but finding a way through that clogged midfield was always going to be difficult. The Dutch were poor and tried not to lose, whereas the Spanish tried to win and did, with positive football artistry winning out over blatant negativity.

  • Comment number 39.

    #27 Catalan Power

    Wrote "Worst referee performance ever and a very bad one for football. Players might feel encouraged to commit brutal fouls in next finals."

    Sorry but have you watched other games in this World Cup and some of the errors made, Lampards goal not given, Tevez miles offside for Argentinas 1st vs Mexico? Holland deserve the blame, not the referee, de Jong could have been sent off and it was a bad tackle but I dont think it was 100% clear cut red card. He sent a player off but Holland were very clever and made sure different players were committing fouls throughout the game.

    "Do you have to rate him positively just cause he's English? I have no words for the disgraceful performance of Howard Webb".

    Im Scottish and belive me I have no love for England but I thought he did a good job in very difficult circumstances, apart from the de Jong challenge no other tackles were worthy of a red and in a game like that there were so many fouls that it was difficult for him to call everyone correctly.

  • Comment number 40.

    To all my cloggie just didn't deserve it.

  • Comment number 41.

    Another thing-I think the Dutch have a damn cheek having a go at Howard Webb who tried to keep it as a decent spectacle for as long as he could. This was a game for the world remember and he tried to ref it in that vein. The Dutch could easily have been reduced to nine men by half time without any complaints whatsoever. Overall a poor final (again). Congrats to Spain but overall Uruguay gave me the most thrills. Now there is a REAL centre forward who doubles as a goalkeeper as well!

  • Comment number 42.

    I have to disagree with the decision with Torres, Navas, and Webb's rating seemed a bit too kind . Torres came on and just ran particularly nowhere and the one time he got the ball he lost it. Navas's best moment, as you said yourself, was a cross which somehow warrants him a 7???!! If that's the case how exactly does Van Persie get such a low five when he may have been quiet but he didn't play poorly. Does that mean when a good player plays average that makes their performance poor? I'm sorry but if that's the case then how does Messi get in the running for the golden ball? Webb's rating was a bit too high. He made some poor calls and I do believe that Elia deserved the call for the foul. Although I also believe that the Dutch weren't going to win anyway.

  • Comment number 43.

    A lot of people find that Webb should have shown red a lot earlier. I disagree. The Dutch committed a lot of fouls, but never bad enough for a straight red, and, for a long time, no two by the same player. A referee cannot show red just because a particular team does not play nice footbal.

    The Dutch were right to complain about some of his decisions, especially the one to not give a corner kick to Holland just before the Spanish goal. But whilst you can criticise some individual decisions I found that he generally led the game well.

  • Comment number 44.

    With regards to the De Jong karate kick, if you watch the replay, you can clearly see that Van Bommel is right in front of the incident and completely blocking Howard Webb from seeing the foul. Yes it probably should have been a red card, but if he can't see it, he can't give the red, and gives a yellow as the benefit of the doubt.

  • Comment number 45.

    Terrible game, ratings should be -1 if not -2 across the board.

  • Comment number 46.

    #43 John Hudson

    Spot on mate, the only challenge possibly to deserve a red was de Jong but I think it was a very tough call to make and by no means a certain red card. For me the Dutch came out with a clear tactic that involved spreading the fouls all around the team and no one player committed enough poor challenges or 1 or 2 terrible tackles to warrant a red, even Heitingas 2nd yellow was for a pull that was by no means the worst offense in the game.

    I think Holland should be held accountable rather than the ref who made a couple of errors but certainly less game changing than the misses by Robben or Fabregas who, if players would be held to the same standards as refs, would be getting hammered and scoring a 4-5 on the players ratings for making 1 big error in 120 mins.

  • Comment number 47.

    I am not Dutch, but surely would have been happy if they won. No one sees anything done by Spain, its all about the fouls for them. Poor game and the worst referee. Almost felt he had something against the Dutch.

  • Comment number 48.

    With the 2010 World Cup in South Africa garnering immense attention from all corners of the globe, including here in the United States where soccer usually attracts a cold shoulder, the time has come for the world’s most popular sporting event to be played every two years.

  • Comment number 49.

    Van Bommel deserves a lower rating purely because of his tackling. There really is no excuse for it, it was abismal and did continue into the second half (albeit to a lesser degree). In the 3rd place playoff we saw both Uruguay and Germany showcasing some excellent tackling at times, the Dutch just showcased how to kick the opposite team around the pitch, awful football.

    Before the game I didn't mind who won too much, either way it was a new name on the trophy, however by the 25th minute I wanted Spain to win purely because of the way the Dutch set out to stifle the game.

    Say what you want about the Spanish game, but I much prefer that to the way the Dutch played.

  • Comment number 50.

    pilotdudeuk (36) says the Dutch were more entertaining over the whole tournament. Yes, they probably were, but more entertaining than Spain in this WC is not saying much at all. They very rarely played anything like the delightful Dutch of old, and I only noticed it when they were ahead in a match. The final was a classic example of how tedious and ugly the
    beautiful game can be - just like many an FA Cup final!

    I doubt if anyone could have done much better with that lot than Howard Webb did. Am sure that many could have turned it into an all out brawl.

    Isn't it interesting (and apt!)that Golden Ball, Golden Boot and Young Player award went to players from other teams?

  • Comment number 51.

    very good ratings although i believe that heitinga was the best and most important player on the pitch before his sending-off and therefore deserves a 7 or 8 - it's a pity how the effectiveness of centre-back play can often be overlooked particularly positioning - witness the nominees for the Golden Ball - not a single defender

  • Comment number 52.

    Hahaha, I love all the different opinions made on Spain's style this tournament, this time I do not agree with the haters. Holland were great until now, but were just downright scared into submission by Spain, resorting to the Switzerland method. I actually feel sorry for Robben, him missing 2 great chances was unbelievable, and just let down overall by the nervous wreck of the Dutch team reduced to unsightly rugby tackling and the odd martial arts move ^^

    Spain, I give huge credit to. Lack of final product is annoying but winning the World cup with the Torres situation was is stunning. And I definitely prefer possession 'narrow width' football to the Dutch's boring rigidness, with the exception of the great Uruguay game. That game alone had me believing and warming to the Dutch but wow did they blow it at the worse time! All love lost for them after that 1st 45 mins xDD, but Robben, all he had to do was chip the goalie it could even have been 2-0 later too! Oh well, it's come and gone now, well done Spain and the great Iniesta!

  • Comment number 53.

    isn't cruyff who said "you can play nice football and win, and then everybody's happy"?

    I think holland and their coach should remember that quote

    got so many yellows.. should have gotten more reds.. yellow and red makes orange

  • Comment number 54.

    I thought Howard Webb was quite inconsistent tonight and made a number of mistakes. I think he was too early to book Van Persie for two fairly mild and not dangerous challenges thus setting a precident for the remainder of the game. Sergio Ramos also could consider his booking a little harsh.

    I think Van Bommel was lucky to remain on the pitch for a number of challenges though whilst dangerous play thought it right to only give a yellow for the De Jong high foot. In other games he perhaps would have walked but it could be argued there was not a great deal of malice in the challenge. Puyol could also have walked for a professional foul with a 2nd yellow much like Heitinga did.

    I think the Dutch initially tried to get in the faces of Spain and give them something to thing about. It may have been spoiling but I wouldn't call it overly dirty. 28 fouls is fairly high but as is 18 for a team supposedly superior to them. The Netherlands picked up 8 bookings and a red but Spain also picked up 5. They got stuck in too. Spain are a technically superior team and some teams have to play in a style to combat this much like Inter against Barca.

    I think both teams did try to win (not just not lose) and dont think it was all Spain just because they controlled the majority of possession. It was just a poor game. Spain have been awful to watch as a spectacle throughout the tournament. The passing is ridiculously immpressive but it's slow and not all that entertaining. I think the Dutch are caught in a transitional period. Too often in the past have they been the victims of spoiling and may have tried to add steel to their game. It needs polishing. They too have lacked in great entertainment but have more variety to their game which is something. Had Arjen Robben been cooler they may have been champions. Both teams missed good chances, particularly Spain early on.

    On overall reflection Spain just edged it but I would definitely not call it a victory for football.

  • Comment number 55.

    You have to forgive Spain for their very infuriating wastefulness in front of goal, those people who don't really need a lesson into Spain's footballing style. Obviously, the midfield retain all the ball, they rely only on the 2 strikers, Torres and Villa to provide the goals, but that's they key issue. They need/require both. It's how they're set up, if one doesn't perform or is unfit, their whole midfield is suddenly starved of options. A fit Torrees is everything to complete their full system, the pace, finishing and dynamism. With him unwell/out of form, Villa being the only option is just not to Spain's preference.

    It's just like taking Klose out of the German front line, look what happened! They struggled against Uruguay, only just beating them eventually, and there was no pressure on that game even! Had Klose played, Germany would have definitely cruised, it's the extra option that makes all the difference sometimes!

    So in short, stop slamming Spain! ^^

  • Comment number 56.

    At 02:34am on 12 Jul 2010, broly wrote:

    "very good ratings although i believe that heitinga was the best and most important player on the pitch before his sending-off and therefore deserves a 7 or 8 - it's a pity how the effectiveness of centre-back play can often be overlooked particularly positioning - witness the nominees for the Golden Ball - not a single defender"

    I'd defintely agree that defenders have been overlooked throughout the tournament. The german centre pairing and Lahm were, for the vast majority, magnificent and were key to the excellent German counter attacks.

    I dont think Iniesta deserved a 9. He was good and didn't waste a pass but was largely ineffective for the most part. The goal may have been his most important ever. But it was not a near perfect display.

  • Comment number 57.

    spain played the best football... u english r just sour after the way ur nation played. u guys think that spain play bad football... pffttttt!

    hala iniesta, by far one of the most underrated players of all time. simply phenomenal. not so sure whether forlan shud have won the golden ball

  • Comment number 58.

    I have no idea why you've given Howard Webb an 8. He was shockingly bad. I've been a fan of his for a while, but this game was shocking. It was littered with mistakes.

    Everyone who watched the game knows that de Jong deserved a straight red but Webb completely bottled it so he didn't ruin the spectacle. I have no idea who he thinks he is, but he is employed as a referee so he is meant to run the game according to the rule book, not to try and make the game close.

    Most people seem to agree that van Bommel should have seen red as well - if not for the tackle on Iniesta then certainly a second yellow for a different foul (perhaps him tripping Xavi).

    Then he completely bottled sending Robben off. After his first yellow for dissent, which was definitely the right call, he should have had a second for time wasting. When he was called offside he chased the ball and slowed down when he heard the whistle... until he then sped up again and poked the ball away from Casillas into the net. Now this is a rule I don't particularly like but everyone knows that it definitely deserves a yellow card, but Webb bottled it. He didn't hesitate to caution Xavi for the exact same thing after the goal because he wasn't already on a yellow.

    He has to get his eyes tested anyway, because absolutely everyone knew that the Netherlands should have had two corners rather than free kicks. The first came when van der Weil crossed to no one and Casillas casually stuck his hand out and palmed it behind... for a goal kick. Then came a free kick which doesn't just scrape Fabregas, it full on smacks him on the back. Then Casillas palms the ball wide again. How could he not have seen that?

    As I said I still sort of rate Webb as a referee, but that performance was one of the worst I've ever seen, and he'd have been lucky to get a 2 in my opinion.

  • Comment number 59.

    Howard Webb 2 - He had an atrocious performance today. An endless list of poor decissions. Most in favor of the Dutch but also many for Spain. Red card for De Jong, Yellow card for Sneijder, no yellow for Ramos should have been given, neither for Van Bronckhorst, second card for Heitinga is doubtful. Penalty should be awarded for Spain, Corner kick for Holland. Yellow card for Puyol should have been given, second card for Robben. Second yellow for Van Bommel and Red Card for Iniesta. 2 Cards for protests, apparently Webb didn't realize that his horrendous performance caused some emotional reactions and didn't understand the importance of this game. Also I believe that if the referee would have given a card for the first player who requested a card for the opposite it would have stopped, now both Spain and Holland were trying to.

    In the end most people can live with the well deserved victory of Spain and so do I, but a referee is having a good performance if he has no influence on the game. You can't say that his was the case for Webb. He should have send off De Jong in the early stages, by not doing that he gave the impression that this was allowed. Apparently his personality don't impress the players that much and he showed a complete lack of control. Again Spain deserved to win and the Dutch can't blame the referee for their loss but to reward him with an 8 is ridiculous. The booing from both Spanish and Dutch when receiving his medal was not nice but I could understand. I was excited before the final but in the end not impressed by any of the 2 teams, but very typical for this World Cup and the referees and linesmen easily acted on the same level. You can almost say that you can hardly blame for it...

    Chris Bevan 4 - I don't have time to comment on all your ratings but in general you overrated all of them, maybe we should extend the maximum to 25 and then you'll be about right. Except for Iniesta, Casillas and Pique on the Spanish side and Van Bronckhorst and Stekelenburg for the Dutch, no one else was above average. And even worse, the explanations were hilarious. For me it seems you didn't see the match, you checked on the final score, briefly read some match reports and wrote this. On top of that you don't seem to have any idea about these players and their abilities, that could be an advantage to assess but you didn't use that. I can only think of 3 possible reasons why you wrote such a bad piece like this: 1) You are a comedian 2) You try to get some discussion going on (well, here it is) or 3) You just don't understand football, in that case I would strongly suggest you stick with cycling and tennis. But I give you still a 4 for trying...

  • Comment number 60.

    I forgot to mention the fact he never went back to book Puyol after the tug on Robben. He allowed the advantage and Robben never took advantage of it, fair enough. But when the ball next leaves the field of play he should have went back and cautioned Puyol for a ridiculous lunging rugby tackle that was desperate at the very least.

  • Comment number 61.

    I dont understand people criticising the dutch way of playing tonight what would you have done? played nice pretty stand off football and be passed to death by a spanish team which can pass a lot but be very boring with it. Had they took their glorious cahnces they would be going home the victors(however they didn't).

    Howard Webb's performance was a mixed one to say the least as i think de jong probably should have been sent off although i can understand why he didn't see the red card. Then came the red card which is clearly a dive from Iniesta and the non red card for Puyol all because Robben actually stood up, it is this reason why diving is so prevelant in the game a referee's reluctance to give a free kick unless the player goes to ground. Then came 2 vital decisions right at the end, the biggest deflection on a free kick you are likely to see and then a slight touch by casillas but a goal kick is given and then the decision not to give elia the free kick, yes he may have been looking for it but he was clearly blocked off by two players and although people may say Holland had time to recover they shouldn't have needed to.

    Overall it was very watchable final even if football was not the winner. Holland with their aggressive tactics and spains defensive keep ball style really made me think of what type of football wins things these days. Anyway onwards and upwards to the new season and qualifiers.

  • Comment number 62.

    Sorry, HalaMadrid. It's not just the English who think Spain's play was boring. Can't argue about Spain having won the World Cup (and it is nice to have a new name on it), but that doesn't mean that they played the best football. Undefeated New Zealand could also be argued to have been the best!!
    Yes, Council Juice, defenders do tend to be overlooked - unless they blunder, or happen to score. Even harder done by than referees and goalkeepers.

  • Comment number 63.

    So obviously I think Holland not winning especially after that final is great for football. It would be a total insult to the Total Footballing nation (^^) had they won. So many stars, so many legends, yet the bunch that would win were going to be those calculative, cynical even downright dirty foulers?? Would be football's new low and 'winning ugly' glorified into 'winning with beautiful karate moves ugly'. Thank goodness for Spain saving football and proving that an ugly display is always 2nd rate to Total Football.

    I'm sure had Holland won the cup, there'd be a strange, almost disturbing hollow feeling somewhere deep in player's like Van Basten's mind. Those great bicycle kicks, and legendary volleys, still will hopefully always be part of the future Dutch teams once again, so let this period of Total Cynical Machinery Martial arts Football be gone!

  • Comment number 64.

    I personally think that Webb refereed the game pretty well considering the way it was played by the dutch. And I must say that I have not for a long team seen such a disgraceful performance by a team (and at a world cup final!) it seemed to me that from the very start of the game the dutch had no intention of trying to play the game but seemed intent on "roughing" up the spanish. Van Bommel and de Jong were incredibly lucky to have stayed on the pitch, Heitinga fully deserved his red and I felt physically sick at the play act performance of Robben who attempted to dive, complain, foul, or cheat in some other way at every available chance

  • Comment number 65.

    Who'd be a referee.

    In what was such a physical game with lots of fouling, the losers were always going to have a pop at the ref.

    I thought Howard Webb did a good job under trying circumstances.

    The Dutch came out with the intention of roughing up Spain and putting them off their passing game.

    Webb picked the early fouls and dished out the cards, but only yellow. He was doing his best to keep a massively high profile game at eleven a side for as long as possible. He got no help from the players, especially the Dutch, 1 or 2 of whom appeared to be on a kamikazi mission.

    Van Bommel and De Jong could have been gone by halftime. Then Webb would have been accused of wrecking the final and the Dutch would have blamed him for being too tough and/or losing his self control.

    Damned if he did, damned if he didn't.

    Of course, he made some errors, especially not spotting the freekick deflection off Fabregas, which would have given Holland a corner. The Spanish goal coming a couple of minutes later.

    However, the tone of the game was set by the behaviour of the players.

    In what was a not very inspiring final, the better team won.

    It was not a day for 'sexy' football.

  • Comment number 66.

    #64- Not biased by any chance?Webb sees fouls like these committed in the Premier League every week.He was and is an overated referee.If he sees de jong enough to give him a yellow he sees enough to give him a red.In fact de jong should have had 2 reds!A kick Bruce Lee would have been proud of!
    Heitinga got real unlucky.Two pretty innocuous
    fouls and he walks! In the meanwhile Mayhem all around him.
    The right team on the night won.But there is ample evidence that it takes two to tango.Isnt that right #57?I am clever I can spell you.U can

  • Comment number 67.

    At No56

    I think defenders are overlooked because normally a real stand out nominee would have to be on the score-sheet, and this leads on to the whole award being individual based, whereas the defensive successes here have been collective efforts, or set ups of the organised '2 banks of 4' involving the crowding out on the talented players like Messi who was swamped each time he had possession. Takes a group to swamp, one-on-one takes were too situational here for a player to stand out. Had the German defender Boetteng scored one or two, he probably would have been a good candidate, but he didn't so---

  • Comment number 68.

    Great comment No65, I fully agree ^^

  • Comment number 69.

    I (fortunately or not as the case may be) am in Jo'berg on business at the moment. I thought it pertinent to mention the fans. From my hotel (right next to the dutch team hotel); during the build-up to the game and from what I observed outside after the game I would say that the fans themselves deserve 10's. They behaved impeccably and I would suggest that they be used as points of reference whenever disparaging remarks against fans of any country are made.

  • Comment number 70.

    Spain are a shadow of the team of 2 years ago. 8 goals in 7 games in which they had almost 70% of the possession- they have turned into Italy- solid at the back, technically good but unwilling to chance their hand. The ability to play 250 accurate passes a game is not to be sniffed at but when they are all lateral, well...Spain are Barcelona without the skill and incisiveness of Lionel Messi.
    Iniesta got a 9 on the strength of his goal, I presume, as his overall performance was very poor by his own high standards. Villa was innocuous and without his usual finishing prowess (he had scored 5 of Spain's 7 goals before today) the Spanish dominated possession while rarely looking like scoring.
    Robben's first miss was crucial and I wonder how we are ever going to truly eliminate 'simulation' from the game when a player gets nothing unless he goes down. Any other player (and Robben on any other day) would've fallen in a heap under Puyol's terrible challenge (about his fourth yellow card of the game at my count). If he fell, Webb would've had no choice.
    In Webb's defence, he was one of the tournament's best, thoroughly deserved the final and all in all refereed well. Another referee would've had Van bommel, De Jong & Puyol off at half-time.
    The Spanish were better but it was marginal and the Dutch had far better goalscoring opportunities. My hope is that the Dutch will build on this young team and that Spain will accept a glorious retirement from a past-it Puyol and not attempt to perservere Cannavaro-style with the defender.
    Sneijder should've been player of the tournament although Forlan was exceptional throughout and Mueller was a worthy young player winner.
    Not a great spectacle- Spain deserved it after three years of quality not the 4 weeks of relative mediocrity we saw from them -were it not for Villa they could've gone home a fortnight ago!
    England fans- keep your heads up- we were atrocious but we must learn something from this tournament. Sometimes you have to leave out good players for the good of the team. Fabregas & Van der Vaart don't start for their countries so why do we try to shoehorn Gerrard & Lampard into the same midfield- Choose! Structure & tactics first, then personnel!

  • Comment number 71.

    Iniesta came up with the goal in the end, and he did keep the ball very well throughout. But had Spain failed to win this game, I for one would have been looking in his direction, as he failed to test the Dutch keeper on a number of occasions. I can remember two times when he was through with a clear shot on goal, but decided to try and walk the ball in, and was inevitably tackled. In a match of relatively few chances, it could have been costly.

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    Iniesta is a cheat so zero for him. He should have been off for diving before he scored.

  • Comment number 74.

    I think that Webb should have sent out a few players earlier with red cards. Specially some of the Dutch players who were practicing some kind of UFC fight. Did you guys see the Karate kick on Xabi Alonso's chest?

    Awful discipline display by the Dutch, but a lot of diving by both sides. With Van Persie, I have been saying this for such a long time that I am beginning to sound like a broken record. Why in the world did the Dutch bring this guy to the world cup?

    He is totally clueless, useless, fruitless, moreover arrogant as well. Plus he doesn't have anything close to the predatorial instinct of a natural born striker. Even Arsenal needs to get rid of him as fast as they can throw him. On the other side, why in the world was Ruud Van Niestelroy not on the Dutch squad? The man single handily made the entire Dutch attack in Euro 2008. Besides, Van Pierce played like 12 games for Arsenal for all of last season with injuries and whining.

    But over all the best team won. The Dutch shouldn't have even have been in the final. This was the worst Dutch team I have seen since England beat them 4-1 in Euro 96. They need to go back to total football cause this world cup performance and their new tactics were just horrible. They also seem to be suffering from the same England syndrome we saw in this World cup with so many European teams with the exception of Germany and Spain (Lack of youth talent). I am so glad that they got exposed against Spain who have just saved football.

    But you take it from me, the Spaniards are here to dominate European football for a long time, maybe for the all decade. The rest of Europe better catch up. They are definitely favorites to win Euro 2012.

  • Comment number 75.

    Xavi definitely didnt deserve an 8! He had an average game. Dunno if this has already been mentioned but is was Iniesta's 'fantastic pass that set Fabregas free in extra time', not Xavi's. So dont give him credit!

  • Comment number 76.

    I thought Webb did okay except for: De Jong should have been off and free kick by Sneijder was definitely a corner. Other than that not bad (for an English ref) in trying circumstances. He should hold his head high. The Dutch? Not so high.

  • Comment number 77.

    Chris, which game were you watching? How can a referee who dishes out 14 yellow cards and a red have any control over the game? Fundamental refereeing mistakes (missing the corner) and the tug on Robben (Puyol), shows that even with a "professional" referee,Holland were always going to be competing against 12 men. Sad, but true.

  • Comment number 78.

    very disappointed by the cynical approach of the dutch - a team with real skill who were too afraid to play the game. Webb did well to try and keep the game going but in retrospect De Jong should have gone for the deliberate chest high challenge and then Holland would have got what they deserved.

  • Comment number 79.

    Ratings are subjective so no big deal. To all those of you having a go at the Dutch complaining about Webb - if England had been there in place of the Dutch (a BIG IF as it is) and that mistake regarding the corner was made by the referee, it would have been pointed out as the single and only reason for the loss to Spain. Spain deserved to win, played a better and smarter game and luckily managed to do it without the worry of penalties. The Dutch manager was at least gracious enough to point out that the better team won. he was unhappy with Webb's performance....hardly something new for a losing manager! besides this was the final after all and his team were a few minutes from possibly getting away with a very lucky win on penalties. And on a side not all the pundits who criticized the Dutch for kicking the Spanish off the park and committing foul after foul need to look at themselves long and hard before they comment on the premier league next time. These guys are the same ones who praise clubs/players/managers who encourage and/or participate in kicking and persistently fouling more technically skilled players week in week out and yet these sort of performances are only qualified with a 'committed' tag...but today the Dutch played a 'dirty game'.

  • Comment number 80.

    How can you give any of that lot high rankings? -they took the honour of playing in the final of the best game in the world and turned it into a Sunday league kicking match. It was a disgraceful display for the millions of youngsters watching and learning just how to succeed in the beautiful game - not fast enough to stop someone? -pull his shirt - been tackled in the box - go down, claim a penalty - been beaten by a more skillful player? -just kick him - get beaten by more comprehensive cheats? - blame the referee.
    I can see no future for our game if we carry on allowing that sort of display to go unpunished - the only thing that Howard Webb got wrong was not sending sufficient numbers of each side off to render the game null and void -and put us all out of our misery. World Cup? -youre' 'avin a larf.

  • Comment number 81.

    Unarguably the worst Dutch team to have taken to the field..what an insult to the past Dutch masters like Cryuff, Van Baasten etc..I was glad that the Spanish won in the end..I was ok with either winning at the beginning as I have a soft spot for the Dutch having already lost 2 finals..but when it became apparent that they only wanted to kick and foul the Spanish players, that sympathy quickly evaporated..I only hope for the sake of Dutch football that kids take up the glorious examples of Cryuff etc and not thugs like Van Bommel and De Jong...

  • Comment number 82.

    Dear Chris, have you rated Van Bommel and De Jong 7 and Xavi 8?

    This speaks poorly about your likes of what's playing football, don't you think?

  • Comment number 83.

    Well, the way the Ducth played forced me to say:

    "You don't care how you win,
    and I don't care if you win."

  • Comment number 84.

    A fair score for Mr Webb I think. The players gave him an almost impossible game to referee especially the Dutch who didn't seem to want to play football. I don't buy the theory that Webb's mistake with the corner led to the Spanish goal. There was a natural break in play for the goal kick and Holland could then defend it as normal. Robben chasing the referee half way down the pitch was also always going to end up with a yellow.

    I feel sorry for the ref. A match like Spain vs Holland should have been a footballing fest. Instead we got a foul ridden game. I really don't see watch the Dutch are so upset about but it's always easier to blame someone else for your own failings.

    Well done Mr Webb! Under the circumstances I think you did the best you could do.

  • Comment number 85.

    1st of all, the best team won. And if we'd won I would have feeled a bit uncomfortable about it for about 1 minute. Holland were fouling a lot, mainly because they didn't have a choice because of the superiour play of Spain. Holland did everything to win that match which I guess is the only thing I can ask them for.

    But how anyone can give Howard Webb an 8 for that performance is beyond believe. I'm not impartial but will try to in this case;

    foul Van Bommel: deserved red (got yellow), could have gotten another yellow once or twice later on because of consistent fauling
    foul Puyol: could have gotten red (got yellow)
    foul De Jong: definite red (got yellow)
    1st Heitinga: very light yellow, got given yellow because of Villa's acting skills (got yellow) cause Webb didn't even see it (see replay)
    faul Puyol: Robben, yes Robben, did everything to stay on his feet, Webb should have given at least another yellow which would have seen Puyol off + a free kick on the edge of the box
    foul Iniesta: although completely understandable he should have gotten at least a yellow for kicking/tripping Van Bommel, Howard Webb was looking at it when it happened.
    2nd Heitinga: very light touch on shoulder, got given because of Iniesta's cleverness to fall over.
    Goal Iniesta: should have been a corner to Holland first and off-site when to ball went to Iniesta first (all though Webb can't help this)

    So to reiterate; Spain deserved the victory by a country mile, but to give Howard Webb an 8 is just ridiculous as he had a major effect on the outcome of the match. Wonder what grade other less impartial countries give the fellow.

  • Comment number 86.

    I totally agree with your marks, except for Howard Webb of course....
    in my opinion to many mistakes, starting with some yellow cards given way to easy (v Persie, Ramos) en some yellow cards which should have been a red (de jong , v Bommel).
    He forgot to give iniesta a yellow card after doing something to v bommel in frustration...
    After Pujol’s foul on Robben he should have handed out a second yellow as well...
    What i personally found very strange is that it's allowed these days to ask for yellow cards ... i thought the FIFA said something about it before the tournament? (ask for a yellow is receive a yellow)
    Iniesta, Ramos and Xavi where already asking yellow cards after five minutes! That's why I can't say the Spanish were the more sportive team this final... i really dislike an attitude like that!

    ok.. i;m Dutch, so probably not really objective :-)
    the best team won.. in an overall terrible final from both sites.. and the referee was acting at the same level. In my opinion both teams and the ref were the afraid to make real decisions ...

  • Comment number 87.

    By the way, anyone who expects any referee to get every decision spot on in 90 minutes of football (never mind 120) is living in cloud cuckoo land.

  • Comment number 88.

    The referee had a shocker. He didn't want to 'spoil' the final by sending players off early on and it led to the game getting out of hand, There were at least two clear straight reds for the Dutch and perhaps one for the Spanish. The players realised quickly he was weak and took advantage. It was dirty it was shocking and I can't imagine FIFA could continue their fair play campaign if that is what they put out as a spectacle. Shocking!

  • Comment number 89.

    Is it the responsibility of the Ref to keep 22 players on the field in a Final? Can't find it in the rule book.

  • Comment number 90.

    So much like how Arsenal is treated by Bolton/Stoke/Blackburn....

  • Comment number 91.

    Giving players marks is a pointless excercise but I will say this......Commenters on here were spewing ill advised bile when the Uragyan handballed on the line and I commented at the time we should be worrying about the legbreaking tackles and deliberate attempt to injure fellow players.....
    Well you all saw it...... that was one of the most spiteful games I have seen in recent years, one team turned up to play expansive football another to kick anything other than the ball.
    How they kept 11 on up to half time is a mystery (apart from Webb probaby being briefed to do so)
    Never seen a Dutch side play like that (apart from V Germany) which can be excused as self defence but their are lucky that they never broke any bones last night a very sad end to a poor world cup.

  • Comment number 92.

    Reasonable assessments generally. The two best teams reached the final and the best ref had the whistle. Bit disappointed with the Dutch whose only plan seemed to be to stop Spain playing rather than play their own game. They rarely got Sneijder on the ball. Spain deserved the win they were the only side apart from Brazil that passed the ball well

  • Comment number 93.

    It is very difficult to be harsh when assessing a World Cup Final as both sides are bound to give their all in order to win. The Dutch and the Spanish are argualbly two of the four best teams in the tournament, even though their styles are different. In the final, they were each so good at what they did that it largely negated the play of the opposition. For many neutrals it then became a tense, evenly played game, with the pressure resulting in some rather chippy play.

    The vast majority of evenly contested tackles were won by the more physical of the opponents; thus favoring the larger and stronger Dutch, although Puyol, Pique, Alonzo and Ramos were not far behind.

    Regardless of their wonderful skills on the ball, the likes of Xavi and Iniesta cannot compete in such cercumstances. In this case, as pointed out by Post No. 73, their answer is to dive. This they do with tremendous skill and in the speed of play is often very difficult for the referee to determine. Watching on TV with slomo replays it was infuriating to see them not just get away with it, but to see Iniesta demand a card from the ref was particularly galling.

    This was a game between two evenly matched teams playing for the ultimate prize and probably could only result in a dour struggle. That the outcome of the game possibly hinged on two wonderfully acted dives by one of the worlds better players is rather sad. They were far worse than the reflex action of the goal-line hand ball in the Uruguay vs Ghana game.

  • Comment number 94.

    So in short, stop slamming Spain! ^^


    Why should we? They scored by *far* the fewest goals of any team to ever win the World Cup. Their brand of football, while interesting perhaps for the purists, is for the most part a pretty monotonous game of keep ball for 90 minutes.

    As a neutral, 1-0 win after 1-0 win isn't exactly vintage stuff. If it was Germany people would be talking about how boring and efficient it was.

    This was a really poor World Cup, with very few teams and very few great players actually playing anywhere near their potential. Fifa really need to investigate why so many teams did so poorly. It won't happen though.

    As ever it's a case of hyping a product much more than it's worth and papering over the cracks with fanfare.

  • Comment number 95.

    Dutch players marks way too high.
    If Webb had not bottled the De Jong decision and sent him off then maybe, maybe a game of football would have broken out.
    Thank goodness the Spanish won and the violence of the Dutch did not prevail.

  • Comment number 96.

    i think the referee completely influenced the outcome of the match.Van Bommel should have been sent out before the end of the first half. De Jong should have been sent out for a "criminal kick" ( i think to call it kung fu is very mild,not even kung fu fighters kick their opponent like that)..and the ref was 5 meters away!!!. Now with 10 players in the first half,and then with De Jong sent out,do you think that Netherlands would have had any chance against Spain with only 9 players?? Still Spain had MANY MORE CHANCES of scoring than Mr Robben (sergio ramos header,villa ,capdevila,fabregas...) so robben missed 2 and we missed 5.

  • Comment number 97.

    Is "Braafheid" not "Braafeat"...

  • Comment number 98.

    I'm glad the Dutch didnt win. They are a very very dirty team. They couldnt take their chances and they play scummy, dirty football so they didnt deserve it!

    The were rewarded for the way they played the game by coming 2nd. I wont accept that Howard Webb's errors had any influence on the outcome. They only balanced out the 2 red cards holland should have had in the 1st half.

    I think Webb did ok and I congratulate him on his achievement! Iniesta took that goal brilliantly also. I used to admire the Dutch (Euro 2008 etc when they played brilliantly) but after watching all of their games I have been disgusted with Robben, Van Bommel and De Jong.

  • Comment number 99.

    Whilst I must admit that the Spanish probably deserved to win I am wondering why no one seems to be commenting on some Mr Webbs other failings, namely

    The second time Robben was through Puyol was pulling his shirt Robben didnt fall down, the Beeb gurus (Hnasen etc) saying he wanted to get get in the area and get a penalty, no matter he was through Puyol was the last man and didnt even get a caution, you can play the adavatage but the foul should still stand So spain down to 10.

    Iniesta after a tackle from Van Bommel in full view of the ref and linesman turned round and kicked him (anyone remember a guy called Beckham with a red for a petulant no deliberate kick), thats an auto red.

    As for the goal, Iniesta was originally miles offside and in play when the originally cross was made but the ball hit a defender, Webb played on. Iniesta had come back onside and then scored, why didnt he give the first offence as the Dutch gained no advantage

  • Comment number 100.

    Regardless of their wonderful skills on the ball, the likes of Xavi and Iniesta cannot compete in such cercumstances. In this case, as pointed out by Post No. 73, their answer is to dive. This they do with tremendous skill and in the speed of play is often very difficult for the referee to determine. Watching on TV with slomo replays it was infuriating to see them not just get away with it, but to see Iniesta demand a card from the ref was particularly galling.


    It's not just diving, it's when they throw themselves to the ground like they've been shot every time they're fouled.

    At Barca they do exactly the same thing. They make up for their lack of physical strength by throwing themselves to the ground. It's one of the reasons other than fantastic technical skill that they keep posession so well. Opposition players end up scared of tackling them.

    Why oh why don't referees book players for exaggerating injuries? It's simulation! Unsportsmanlike conduct - trying to get fellow professionals unfairly booked. It's my biggest problem with the modern game and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.


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