Sunday, July 11, 2010

world cup final, part 2

Thoughts on the refereeing: it wasn't good, but it could have been worse. Howard Webb probably didn't help himself by unnecessarily booking van Persie and Ramos early on, but a lot of the critics are a little harsh to suggest he should have stayed out of the game. Yes, we'd all like to watch games where we don't notice the referee, but it's hard for the referee to avoid attention when players make challenges like this. That's a red card if I've ever seen one, and was one of Webb's mistakes. Other crucial ones: Puyol should have been booked for his challenge on Robben in the second half...Webb played the advantage, but it's one of those where the foul should have been called after Robben lost the ball, or at least the booking should have been given to Puyol after the play. It would have been his second and he would have been sent off as well.

In the aftermath of the goal, the Dutch players were complaining a lot....since they were directing most of their attention at the assistant referee, I can only assume they wanted the goal called back for offside. Are they crazy? Why did they assume that they were right about the offside decision when they were so blatantly wrong?

I think they were also angry about the botched corner kick call from Sneider's free kick only moments earlier. For this I sympathize with them fully: it was quite clearly a corner kick, and everyone in the stadium saw that. But those kinds of calls are botched all the time. Get on with it and play the game!

Spain were the dominant team, but the Dutch had their chances as well, and each side was shockingly inept in front of goal. Robben should have had a pair of goals. Ramos missed the easiest chance of the game with his header off Xavi's corner. And David Villa's chance! I was sure he'd scored.

The real difference-maker, for me, was Cesc Fabregas, who came on for Xabi Alonso about midway through the second half. Except for the one-on-one chance he missed (did he see Navas to his right??), he completely changed the game in Spain's favor, and eventually provided the winning assist. He may have only played 40 minutes, but he might edge out Iniesta and Xavi for my man of the match. David Villa was disappointing again, losing possession here and there, and not really creating much for himself.

I just found out Diego Forlan won the Golden Ball....umm, really? Xavi and Iniesta were the players of the tournament for sure, and I'm shocked they didn't win, especially having played on the winning side. At any rate, I'd expect them to go 1-2 for European and world players of the year after that final. Congratulations Spain!!

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