Arjen Robben has claimed Howard Webb was not up to the job of handling the World Cup final.
The English official has been slammed from both the Holland and Spain camps for his handling of yesterday’s game at Soccer City.
Webb dished out a record 14 yellow cards, including two for Jonny Heitinga, in what has largely been viewed as an exceptionally difficult match to control.
Nigel de Jong seemed incredibly lucky to have stayed on the pitch, along with team-mates Mark van Bommel and Wesley Sneijder, but Robben believes he was the victim of a gross injustice when Carles Puyol – who had already been booked - tried to stop him racing clean through when the match was still level.
Robben accepts neither side made it easy for the referee but that Webb was not strong enough to handle it.
“It was a World Cup final,” said the former Chelsea star.
“You are talking about two aggressive teams who want to win. It was for the referee to control the game.
“It is wrong when you sit in the dressing room together and you are only talking about the referee and his very bad points.
“There were some strange decisions and for me, honestly, if you play a World Cup final, you need a world class referee. I don’t know whether that was a world class performance from the referee.”
Robben’s main grievance was the incident involving Puyol.
TV replays clearly showed Puyol tugging Robben back, only for Webb to play an advantage when the Dutch winger broke free again.
However, once Iker Casillas had raced from his goal to gather, Robben expected Webb to take further action, which did not come.
“It is very clear,” he said. “He has to send him off and he has to give a free-kick. In the end there was no advantage.
“It cost us because I didn’t go down.
“We were 10 minutes before the end of the game. If we score a goal there we can win the game. But I couldn’t score because the goalkeeper was too close.”
Robben insisted Holland’s tactics were not too robust and they did try to play football.
Ultimately though, the scoreline shows they came up just short thanks to Andres Iniesta’s winner four minutes from time.
“Spain are a terrific side,” he said.
“We had our plan and we tried to play our football but Spain have a great team with a lot of great players.
“We tried to stop them defensively, our organisation was good and we created chances.
“We cannot criticise ourselves. We have done everything we could.
“One team always has to lose but it is very frustrating when it happens four minutes before the end.”