Spain and Netherlands fined by FIFA for undisciplined 2010 World Cup final
FIFA, the international governing body of association football, has fined the 2010 World Cup champions Spain and runners up Netherlands, for an undisciplined World Cup final.
The fine may not be any significant amount, but it’s just a gesture made by FIFA that what transpired on the pitch on the big day was unacceptable. The Dutch football federation has been fined a sum of 9,080 pounds, while Spain has been charged 6,053 pounds.
The man in charge of the final, British referee Howard Webb handed out 8 yellow cards to Dutch players and also sent off John Heitinga in a fiercely contested World Cup final. Spain won the final 1-0 after extra time. Spain also had 5 players booked before the final whistle.
Nigel De Jong, the Dutch midfielder, was yellow-carded for a dangerous kick that was tagged as a Kung Fu tackle. Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso was on the receiving end of the tackle and had the stud marks of De Jong’s boots on his chest to show for it.
De Jong, in an effort to get his foot to the ball, rose his foot too high and slammed his foot into Alonso’s chest. Alonso, who needed some treatment following the tackle, said that it was the worst and most dangerous tackles ever made on him.
There was wide criticism of the Netherlands team after the final, and many said that the team had not come out to play football but an altogether physical game. A legend of Dutch Football, Johan Cruyff, lashed out at his national team and said that Netherlands has been known as the team that plays beautiful football, but what transpired on the pitch was anything but that. He said that his team played anti-football instead of beautiful football. Cruyff was very critical of the Dutch team’s tactics and said that the team had played so well in the World Cup, and through their skill and moves had bamboozled one and all. Cruyff said that he fails to understand why Netherlands changed their tactics all of a sudden in the final. Cruyff, who was credited with introducing the revolutionary concept of ‘Total Football’, said that what good was that physical approach, as it did not help them win the World Cup.
After the final, Dutch coach Bert Van Marwijk defended his team strategy. He said that throughout the World Cup he had planned ahead of the match considering the strength of the opposition. He said that against Brazil, he told his team to go at the opposition and not let them settle, and that is what worked. However, against Spain in the final he said that he had told his team to keep the ball and play one touch football. He said that Spain thrives on possession football and all he tried to do was make sure that his team does not give the ball away too much. Van Marwijk added that all he told his team before the match was to play beautiful football, but the expectations and the momentous occasion that was the World Cup final maybe got to his players and they were nervous. The manager said that he stands by his team and their approach, and reiterated that there was nothing wrong with the way his team played.
The match in question set a new record for most cards in a World Cup final; the previous record for most cards in a final was back in 1986, when Argentina won the final 3-2 beating West Germany. There were 6 yellow cards shown in that match.