Referee now looking forward to spending time with family...Premier League referee Howard Webb has claimed his appointment as referee of the World Cup 2010 final, and the subsequent experience gained by taking charge of the event, was an "amazing experience" and has thanked the English media for their support prior to and following the game on Sunday evening.
Webb, 39, endured huge levels of criticism from the international media, especially the Dutch contingent, following his performance during Sunday's final at Soccer City, Johannesburg, a game which saw Spain come away as 1-0 winners after Andres Iniesta's winning goal.
Webb issued 14 yellow cards throughout the game, two of which were directed at Netherlands defender John Heitinga, who was sent off with 11 minutes of extra time remaining, and the Premier League ref was subsequently criticised for his inability to control the game.
"I'm delighted to be home," Webb told Sky Sports News. "It was an amazing experience out there.
"I was thrilled and delighted to be appointed to the final game which turned out to be a tough game but we come home with a real sense of achievement and just pleased to be back home now and looking forward to spending some time with our families and recharging for the challenges of the season ahead.
"I'm thrilled to have been involved in a wonderful event. It was a great experience and I'm glad to be back.
"Thanks for the support of the English people. The English media has been absolutely fantastic and we received a big boost from reading everything that's been written and said in support before the final and after it as well.
"On behalf of myself and my family I'd like to say thank you for that."
In later statement, Webb spoke of the "extremely challenging" nature of refereeing the final.
"We felt satisfied that we'd done a tough job in difficult circumstances to the best of our abilities," he said.
"It was an extremely challenging match to handle."Whatever the match, you always hope that the officials won't need to be heavily involved. However, we had to raise our profile in order to keep control.
"We don't feel that we had much choice except to manage the game in the way we did.
"From early on in the match we had to make decisions that were clear yellow cards.
"We tried to apply some common sense officiating given the magnitude of the occasion for both sides - advising players early on for some of their tackling, sending players away when they were surrounding the officials, and speaking to their senior colleagues to try to calm them down.
"It is one of the toughest games we will ever be involved in and we feel that we worked hard to keep the focus on the football as much as possible."