Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher: Howard Webb stood up well to the test of World Cup 2010 final

Englishman coped with intense pressure...
Howard Webb did a fine job of handling a very testing World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain, according to his former colleague as a Premier League referee, Dermot Gallagher.

Gallagher believes that Webb will never again face such a concerted amount of pressure in a game, with the Dutch team adopting a physcial approach against the Spaniards.

"I think he deserves two gold medals after the match to be honest," Gallagher told Sky Sports News.

"He's gone into a game which is the most prestigious he'll ever referee in his life and he's come out of one that he will never, if he lives to 100, referee a tougher match.

"I've never seen a referee put under so much pressure. I've never seen a team employ so many bully-boy tactics and the way they harangued him at the end was an absolute disgrace to be honest."

Gallagher was particularly appalled by the way in which the Dutch players hassled and argued with Webb following the final whistle, and feels that FIFA needs to remind players that their conduct as well as that of the referees is open to question.

"I don't think there's any doubt that it's players' responsibility," he added.

"I read in the papers comments from the Dutch saying what he's done and how he's not done very well.

"If you take the De Jong tackle aside - I thought it was a red card and he [Webb] was unlucky, he was on the wrong side and he didn't see it properly as he would have like to have done - I don't think he's got much to look back in anger at himself [about].

"He's gone out and he's been tested to the absolute limit. It's a long, long time since I've seen the referee put under so much pressure.

"I listened to the pundits at half-time yesterday saying that Holland should be down to nine men. That's all well and good saying that, but if they were down to nine men I think we'd have had the other story that the referee's gone out and he's ruined the game.

"He was in a totally no-win situation last night."

Gallagher also pointed out that, by and large, match officials have adopted a fairly lenient approach to the tournament.

"The one thing I can say is that this World Cup has been very tolerant [on the part of] referees. There's been nearly a hundred yellow cards shown less than in Germany and I don't think tackling has improved that far from Germany," he said.

"I think that speaks for itself.

"Howard Webb went out last night and he was strong and he was tested and he stood up to the test."

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