Spanish media slams Webb choice
Posted: 9 July 2010 Time: 3:40 pm
World Cup finalists Spain will encounter a "challenge" in their attempt to win football's biggest honour of all, says the Spanish media.
The Spanish media are incensed with Fifa's decision to appointment Englishman Howard Webb as the referee for the Final, describing the decision as "bad news" for La Roja.
Sunday's Final pits Spain against the Netherlands at Soccer City and Webb becomes the first English referee in 36 years to officiate in a World Cup Final since Jack Taylor in 1974. However, the choice of Webb hasn't been applauded across the board with Spain's sports daily Marca headlined the choice "Bad news – Webb will referee the Final".
Apparently, the objections are related to Spain's first match in the World Cup against Switzerland in Durban, where Webb apparently made two mistakes leading to Spain losing the match 1-0 on June 16. The Spanish media argues that Gelson Fernandes' goal for the Swiss could have been disallowed for offside and another relates to a shout for a penalty after Phillipe Senderos clipped David Silva's ankle in the box.
Webb, a police sergeant, is no stranger to controversy. Poland fans and officials were outraged after their Euro 2008 exit hosted by Austria and lashed out at Webb after he awarded a penalty to the hosts. The game ended 1-1 knocking out Poland out of the competition. Leo Beenhakker, who was then manager of Poland, said "the referee wanted to show that he is a big boy and awarded a penalty. I'm lost for words about what happened."
The Polish players were scathing in their post-match comments. Mariusz Lewandowski said "It is a fxxxking scandal" and Pawel Golanski added he felt "cheated as a footballer". Their Prime Minister Donald Tusk had his choice of words for Webb saying he felt like "killing somebody".
However, it is the same Webb who has been in charge of some high profile matches including the UEFA 2010 Champions League Final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich.