Referee Webb has no final regrets

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Referee Howard Webb claims he has no regrets about the way he handled Sunday's World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands.

Webb booked 13 players and sent off Dutch defender John Heitinga as Spain won an ill-tempered game 1-0 in extra-time.

The Premier League official was heavily criticised by Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk after the game, while Spaniards have been quick to come out in support of Webb after slamming the heavy-handed approach of their opponents.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has also lent his support to Webb, who has released a statement through the Premier League explaining the difficult situation he tried to manage.

"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," Webb said.

"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."

Webb, who was assisted by Darren Cann and Michael Mullarkey, was the first Englishman since Jack Taylor in 1974 to referee the World Cup final.

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