In the event, the grand finale was a disgrace; it also offered another pathetic “English” performance in the shape of the referee, Howard Webb. Having seen German youth outclassed by Spanish skills, the Dutch decided for spoiling tactics. That is fair enough, but their harrying and pressing came with a systematic intimidatory violence that amounted to the worst possible advertisement for football. A “filthfest,” the Guardian’s commentator called it. Webb showed plenty of yellow cards but didn’t have the courage to send a man off until the last minutes of extra time. The moment when Nigel De Jong lifted his leg high to kick his studs into Xabi Alonso’s chest and then was not shown a red card was emblematic of the mentality that FIFA has created in players and officials.
The Dutch team knew that Webb would not want to be responsible for ruining a TV spectacle with a dismissal, so they ruined the game themselves in the hope of grabbing a goal from the shambles they had created. Andres Iniesta’s wonderful strike just five minutes away from a penalty shoot-out was the tournament’s only moment of poetic justice and FIFA’s only fig leaf. On this ugly showing 2014 is rather too soon for a repeat performance.
La triche et la violence
[The New York Review of Books] FIFA’s Foul Play: un excellent article de Tim Parks qui dénonce la tricherie généralisée et les fautes d'arbitrage dans le football (soccer), et les intérêts financiers irrésistibles qui pourrissent ce jeu. La dernière coupe du monde de football a été particulièrement touchée par ces maux. Nombreux ont été les fautes d'arbitrages ne pouvant être corrigées en l'absence de vidéo, les joueurs se glorifiant d'avoir triché ou d'être parvenu à leur fins en trichant et la violence impunie accréditant l'idée que là aussi la fin justifie les moyens.