2010 World Cup final a "nightmare" for match referee

The 2010 World Cup final between the Netherlands and Spain was a "nightmare" to referee, former ref Howard Webb writes in his book The Man in the Middle. He even feared that the match, in which he gave Dutch player Nigel de Jong a yellow card instead of a red for a tackle - would cost him his career, AD reports. 

"Only in the break did I realize that the tackle of Nigel de Jong might be a red card", the British man said. "I was really incredibly disappointed. It seemed that I missed a red card in a World Cup final. It was a nightmare. My heart was still in my throat when the second half began. I even feared for my career."

Webb did not have a good view of De Jong giving Xabi Alonso a karate kick in the chest. "I stood behind Alonso, so I did not see how hard he was hit. I knew the offense was worth a card. No one of my team suggested anything else via our radio connection." He was 100 percent behind a yellow card. Red card never even crossed his mind.

The Spanish players were furious over his decision, but Web did not realize the anger had to do with De Jong's tackle.

Webb eventually handed out 14 yellow cards and one red one throughout the game. Oranje lost the World cup final 1-0 after a goal by Andres Iniesta.