Sam Wallace: It is far too easy and lazy to blame the referee this time

In what will have been the proudest moment of their careers, Howard Webb and his two linesmen Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey were booed by Dutch supporters when they went up to receive their World Cup final medals on Sunday.

With the benefit of watching all 120 minutes of the final for the second time yesterday, one thing is clear: Webb had a very good game. In a match of 47 fouls, countless tricky decisions and two very argumentative sets of players, his percentage of mistakes was low. Graham Poll was right to give Webb "nine out of 10" yesterday, and Poll does not give praise lightly.

Detailed analysis of Webb's major decisions shows he did not get every one right. No referee ever does. Yet it is testament to his performance that he gave out 14 yellow cards and one red, and not one of them was unjustified.

Yes, Nigel De Jong's foul on Xabi Alonso was a red card. Yes, Mark van Bommel should have received a second yellow for a stamp on Andres Iniesta in the 78th minute. No, it was not a goal-kick when Wesley Sneijder's free-kick clipped Cesc Fabregas in the Spain wall on 115 minutes. But look at what Webb got right.

Sneijder said after the match "the goal was offside". Wrong. Iniesta was "not involved in active play" when, in an offside position, Fernando Torres' initial pass to him was cut out by Rafael van der Vaart. When, seconds later, Iniesta received the ball from Cesc Fabregas and scored he was a good few yards onside.

Sneijder also said that Iniesta kicked Van Bommel "when the ball was not there". He added: "I think if the referee saw it, it was a red card." Replays show that, at most, Iniesta's retaliatory barge on Van Bommel was a booking. What Sneijder did not mention was that, seconds before, Van Bommel had stamped on Iniesta and should have picked up a second yellow.

The problem for Webb is that the aftermath of big games is dominated by the views of the very famous and very biased players who participate in them. No one stands up for the ref.

Arjen Robben's claim that he was fouled by Carles Puyol on 83 minutes is not borne out by replays.

There were some exceptional split-second decisions by Webb and assistant Cann, who has called every big offside decision correctly this World Cup. Xavi Hernandez's appeal for a penalty at the start of extra time looked compelling in real time. It took me four HD slow-mo replays to recognise he had actually kicked Johnny Heitinga's foot and then his own standing leg.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US