Disproving the typical Premier League fan's opinion that all English referees are ‘rubbish,' Howard Webb's consistent performances on the domestic and international stage have earned him the biggest officiating gig in the world.
While FIFA have deemed the former policeman worthy of refereeing the World Cup final, the Spanish press fail to hold the same opinion.
Real Madrid-lovin' daily newspaper Marca may have published a delightful video of the imposing Englishman on safari, but they also ran the doom-filled headline "Bad news - Webb will referee the final." They are unhappy with the way Webb handled their World Cup opener with Switzerland, arguing that two key errors cost La Roja the match - his decision not to award David Silva a penalty and Switzerland's suspiciously offside goal.
AS professed similar concerns for the Webb's appointment, calling FIFA's decision "debatable." And Barcelona-based sports paper El Mundo Deportivo says the chrome-domed man in charge will bring back "bad memories for La Roja."
Perhaps the Spanish are right to be concerned, but the Yorkshireman is more than qualified to take on Sunday's game. His performances during Italy vs. Slovakia and Brazil vs. Chile were generally deemed faultless, and he has already demonstrated confidence in hugely important games by taking charge of the 2010 Champions League Final. Plus, he's really big and quite scary looking. Which probably helps.
[Source and translations: Sydney Morning Herald]
- Howard Webb