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Dutch point finger of blame at referee Webb

sports Updated: Jul 12, 2010 13:21 IST

AFP
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Dutch stars Arjen Robben and Nigel de Jong launched a bitter attack on English referee Howard Webb after Holland 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 on Sunday.

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 star.

"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.