Dutch rampage cancels another refereeing howler (NB: Shearer and Lawrenson disagreed)

From camporetro.com
From camporetro.com

At the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, Spain were dirty, the Netherlands thuggish and Howard Webb struggled to cope with it all though I thought he did as well as any ref could given two sets of players intent on ending the game with as few on the field as laws permit.

Tonight we had niggles rather than the brutality of 2010, a crushing defeat for the cup holders Spain and display of refereeing incompetence to rival that of Yuichi Nishimura in Brazil vs Croatia – yes, I know Jeremy Robson suggested worse – but ultimately, on this occasion, of no assistance to the beneficiaries.

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Au revoir Angleterre, goodbye France: Nasri’s parting shame, England’s limited game

176/366: Come on England!!!Image: Gene Hunt

Late news: big debate brewing in France on whether certain players – the suspects, by and large and overlooking the squad’s surly return to French soil, are identified below – should receive their €100,000-a-man bonuses for reaching the last eight …

The first thing to say is that Euro 2012 seems to have whittled down the competing nations to the four that logically merit a presence in the semi-finals.

Jake: l'artist

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Johann Cruyff on a very Dutch murder


Sunday was the night the Netherlands, with complete premeditation, killed football, or at least did their level best to do so. Everyone, except their own short-sighted and indignant fans, knows this to be true, including – as Jeremy Robson, pictured with his young ‘un, points out – a certain Dutch master of the Total Football at which his country once excelled …

I’ve always been a huge admirer of Johann Cruyff.

As a player, he was sublime. The now famous “Cruyff turn” which he introduced to the world in 1974 is a practice drill for aspiring footballers the world over. Hard to believe that up to 40 years ago, this move had never been witnessed on a football field.

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The Van Bommel snarl that epitomised this rotten finale


In another of our reflective glances at the World Cup, Bill Taylor starts and finishes with the sort of welcome a prisoner gives when told years have been knocked off his sentence. Four years off World Cup football – and the thuggishness, at the end, of a once-refined footballing nation – is maybe the least reward Bill can expect for getting the winners and runners-up spot on …

Ah well, at least we get another four years off before we have to go through this again. And the REAL football starts in five weeks.

There has been some good, some great football played during this World Cup but there have also been far more terrible moments than there should have been. Many of which were crammed into the final’s seemingly interminable 120 minutes.

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South Africa: the World Cup in letters


It’s over. Well done South Africa. Congratulations Spain. And here, using the letters of the host nation, is the first of our looks back on the 2010 tournament …


– Spain, worthy winners on the night, and just about overall, in a generally unimpressive event

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Spain 1 Netherlands 0: la cima del mundo

spainImage: gsfc

So SPAIN are top of the world, winners of the 2010 World Cup after at one stage looking more like heading home in disarray. But South Africa confounded so many people with the way it handled the event – think back to all those warnings, and not just from tabloid newspapers, of the likely security headaches – that it deserved to host a better final than the lame, petulant affair mustered by Spain and the Netherlands. Yet Spain generally played the better football, and triumphed with a late, late winner from Iniesta. The Dutch claimed injustice, a missed offside, but deserved nothing better after their cynical, ill-tempered display …

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Spain v Netherlands, and the wonder of Darren Bent: through Spanish eyes


Where to go for a Spanish ‘Who Are You?’ in response to Edgar Meyer’s Dutch preview of the 2010 World Cup final. Marta in Belfast? “Typical kneejerk fan – probably couldn’t name any players,” said her husband. The tapas bar I like so much in Ealing? It’s Portuguese. Let’s try the Spanish Embassy in London then. And into our lives, with many thanks to the press office for putting us his way, came Benjamin Leyton* a fan of Cadiz, a Chelsea steward and, best of all, a man who admires Sunderland and Darren Bent. Three-nil to Spain, he reckons …

At one stage, people were saying Spain might go out at group stage. Now you are a step away from winning the World Cup – what went right?

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Raining on Spain’s parade


Tomorrow Salut! Sunderland brings you a very positive view of Spain, as you’d expect since it is our Who Are You? feature in which a Spanish supporter is interviewed; Jeremy Robson is not so sure, and gets his retaliation in first …

What a sad indictment it is that Spain will be contesting a World Cup final.

The only pleasure to be derived from this is vicarious. It’s great for the citizens of a true football nation to see their national side in the final for the very first time.

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