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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Webb: VAR would've helped get De Jong decision right in 2010 WC final

Former Premier League referee Howard Webb shares the ins and outs of the VAR initiative.
ESPN's Bob Ley speaks with U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati about the decision to make a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup.

Former referee Howard Webb said there were "loads of times" when he wished he had the assistance of video replay, including the 2010 World Cup final, in which he famously failed to send off the Netherlands' Nigel de Jong for a high kick on Spain's Xabi Alonso.

Netherlands defender De Jong kicked Xabi Alonso in the midsection early in the first half but only received a yellow card from Webb, who insists he had a poor view of the play. Andres Iniesta later scored in extra time to hand Spain the nation's first World Cup trophy.

And Webb, who is now the manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization that oversees officiating in MLS, said in an interview with ESPN's Sam Borden that replays would have helped him get the decision correct.

De Jong Xabi Alonso
Howard Webb gave Nigel de Jong a yellow for his high kick on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final.

"In retrospect, I think he should have been sent off, as well. I don't think any referee would say otherwise when you see the tackle with the benefit of replays," Webb said.

"But I just didn't get a good view of it. This was 25 minutes into a World Cup final, and I could see it was a late contact, but the contact was shielded from my view.

"That would be a situation where the video assistant referee would come in, and because it's a match-changing situation -- a red card or possible red card -- and he could identify that a clear error had been made in the biggest game of all, and it could have been rectified there and then on the pitch."

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