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'We did our best'

Controversial referee Howard Webb has responded to criticism of his officiating of the weekend’s World Cup final by saying that they did the best job they could given the circumstances, which isn’t really much of a defence, in all honesty.

Webb and his team drew a boat load of abuse for the way the game degenerated into an orgy of reckless tackles, incessant diving, fake card waving and general bad behaviour on the part of almost everyone. But he remains convinced that he did the best he could given the antics of both sets of players.

‘We felt satisfied that we'd done a tough job in difficult circumstances to the best of our abilities,’ he said. ‘It was an extremely challenging match to handle. It is one of the toughest games we will ever be involved in and we feel that we worked hard to keep the focus on the football as much as possible.

‘Whatever the match, you always hope that the officials won't need to be heavily involved. However, we had to raise our profile in order to keep control. We don't feel that we had much choice except to manage the game in the way we did. From early on in the match we had to make decisions that were clear yellow cards.

‘We tried to apply some common sense officiating given the magnitude of the occasion for both sides - advising players early on for some of their tackling, sending players away when they were surrounding the officials, and speaking to their senior colleagues to try to calm them down.’

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