Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Tom Blow

Netherlands star "wanted to attack" Howard Webb over controversial World Cup decision

Johnny Heitinga has admitted he "wanted to attack" Howard Webb after the English referee sent him off in the 2010 World Cup final.

Heitinga was dismissed for a second bookable offence in the Netherlands' 1-0 defeat to Spain at the tournament in South Africa. He could have no complaints about his second yellow card, as he stopped Andres Iniesta running through on goal in extra time.

The game was goalless at that point, as Iniesta went on to score a late winner to secure Spain's first World Cup. Despite Premier League referee Webb having no option but to send Heitinga off, the Dutchman still believes it was an "unfair decision" 12 years on.

"I was full of emotion in that moment - and walking off that pitch, it just felt like such a long walk," Heitinga told Ladbrokes. "I felt lonely. In my eyes, it was an unfair decision; it was very smart from Andres Iniesta for my second booking.

"After the match, I was still upset. I look back now and I'm glad our manager [Bert van Marwijk] grabbed hold of me, because I wanted to attack Howard Webb. In my eyes, it was an unfair decision he made."

That isn't the only decision Heitinga has criticised. He added: "There's a key moment in extra-time and it comes just before Spain score the winning goal. Wesley Sneijder takes a free-kick which deflects off the wall and out for what should have been a corner.

Johnny Heitinga was sent off by Howard Webb in the 2010 World Cup final (Getty Images)

Do you remember the 2010 World Cup final? Let us know in the comments below!

"The officials decided it was a goal kick, and Spain scored in that move... At least if that would have been rightly awarded, we could have killed another 45 seconds or so; and what we can say for sure is that Spain wouldn't have scored the goal."

The Netherlands also lost the 1974 and 1978 World Cup finals and have never won the competition. They failed to qualify for the last World Cup in Russia but have an outside chance of winning in Qatar. They will top Group A if they beat the hosts on Tuesday.

Heitinga, who won 87 senior caps for his country and represented Everton and Fulham in the Premier League, has spoken to Webb since the 2010 final. The two were sympathetic with one another, as the referee admitted it was hard for him to show a red card.

Heitinga added, "I've spoken with Howard Webb, who refereed that final in 2010, on a number of occasions. I talked with him a couple of months after that night, and he told me it was so difficult for him. Also, from our side, we were not ourselves; we were nervous.

"It was difficult for everyone, but especially Howard and the linesmen; nowadays it's much easier with VAR... You still feel the pain. It never really goes away."

Johnny Heitinga speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at the launch of their World Cup Free-To-Play Halftime Quiz.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.