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Football | FIFA World Cup

Howard Webb © Action Images

Spanish irked at choice of final ref



Fifa's choice of Englishman Howard Webb to take charge of Sunday's World Cup final has irked Spain as he was the man in charge of their opening loss to Switzerland, media reports noted on Friday.

"Bad news - Webb will referee the final," trumpeted sports daily Marca, while AS sports daily described the choice of Webb as "debatable", given that he had "made two mistakes" which cost Spain against the Swiss, shock 1-0 winners over the reigning European champions in their first group match.

Marca noted that Webb had not given what appeared to be a clear penalty in favour of David Silva and then gave Gelson Fernandes' goal despite more than a hint of offside.

Marca said it would thus be a "challenge" to win the match and take the trophy back to Spain for the first time.

Webb brings back "bad memories for La Roja (Spain)," noted Barcelona-based sports daily Mundo Deportivo.

Webb, a 39-year-old Yorkshireman and a police sergeant, is considered to be one of Europe's top referees.

He officiated in last May's Champions League final between winners Inter Milan and Bayern Munich in Madrid.

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