I should have sent off De Jong, says World Cup final ref

Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:12pm GMT

By Martyn Herman

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - World Cup final referee Howard Webb has seen several re-runs of the game since returning from South Africa but said the only thing he would change is the colour of the card he showed to Nigel de Jong.

Englishman Webb produced 14 yellow cards, including two for Dutchman Johnny Heitinga, as Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time in a bad-tempered contest.

Webb and his English assistants, Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey, were criticised for their handling of the Johannesburg game, but Webb said he looked back on his performance with pride.

Asked about De Jong's karate-style kick on Xabi Alonso after 25 minutes, Webb admitted he made a mistake in only booking the Manchester City player.

"We wanted to be a steady hand but equally we wanted to do our job properly, and if there was a clear red card we would do it," Webb told Reuters after a less arduous spot of officiating for local boys' teams at Manchester City's stadium on Wednesday.

"When I look back on the full two hours of that game, which of course I have, there is not much I would change.

"One of the things I would change is the colour of the card for de Jong's tackle.

"Having seen it again from my armchair several times in slow motion and from different angles, I can see that it was a red-card offence. But at the time the decision not to red-card him was not based on me not wanting to send someone off in the World Cup final, it was based on the viewing angle I had.   Continued...

<p>Netherlands' Arjen Robben runs after referee Howard Webb of England to protest an uncalled foul during the 2010 World Cup final match at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, July 11, 2010. REUTERS/Carlos Barria</p>
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