Howard Webb Admits He Should Have Sent Off Netherlands Midfielder Nigel De Jong In 2010 World Cup Final

English ref happy with performance despite Alonso incident...
English referee Howard Webb has admitted that he should have dismissed Netherlands midfielder Nigel De Jong in the 2010 World Cup final last month.

Manchester City star De Jong received a yellow card for a high challenge on Spain's Xabi Alonso just 25 minutes into the final.

Webb handed out a record 14 yellow cards in the game, and admits that he could sense the player's nerves early on.

"I sensed very early on the field the players were under a lot of pressure, they were very close to winning the ultimate prize for their country for the first time," Webb told Sky Sports News.

"We wanted to be that steadying hand but equally we wanted to do our job properly and if there was a clear red card we would do it."

Despite receiving some criticism for the way he handled the game, Webb stated that he was happy with his performance, apart from the punishment given to De Jong.

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

"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."

The Englishman also insisted that his decision not to send De Jong off was not him buckling under the pressure of the occasion, but simply because his view of the incident was impaired.

"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 got.

"What I couldn't see was the actual contact on Alonso through his back, with [Mark] Van Bommel just to his right, the view was obstructed somewhat.

"I could see the foot was high and from Alonso's reaction there must have been some contact even though I couldn't see the contact, and being 25 minutes into a World Cup final, I wasn't prepared to guess.

"I wasn't prepared to fill in the blanks in my head to say that was possibly a red-card offence, I wanted to base it on what we could see so therefore I decided to show a yellow card."

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