Players should behave better: Blatter - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Players should behave better: Blatter

By Graham Dunbar 13/07/2010 06:28:23 AM Comments (0)

Players from the Netherlands and Spain should have behaved better during the World Cup final, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said on Monday.

"It was not exactly what we have, or what I have, expected for fair play on the field of play in the final," Blatter said at a news briefing to mark the end of the tournament.

English referee Howard Webb showed 14 yellows cards - a record for a World Cup final - and one red for Dutch defender John Heitinga as Spain won 1-0 in extra time on Sunday night.

Blatter refused to blame the match officials for their handling of an often bad-tempered match, which was watched by an estimated global television audience of 700 million people.

"It is not up to me to judge the performance of the officials in match control," Blatter said. "I can only say it was a very hard task that the refereeing trio had on the field of play.

"They were not helped in this task, I can tell you that."

The Netherlands team was widely criticised for using physical tactics to stop Spain's rhythmic passing style.

Eight different Dutch players were shown yellow cards, with Heitinga sent off after Webb - a former policeman - showed him a second yellow in extra-time when the score was still 0-0.

Blatter said he could not comment directly on the conduct of the Netherlands team "even if I have seen all the irregularities as a spectator".

Football was a physical game but one that also educated players in certain values, the FIFA president said.

"When you learn to lose you should not forget the basics which is discipline and respect," Blatter said.

Five Spain players were booked, and influential defender Carles Puyol came close to a red when he appeared to impede forward Arjen Robben's run on goal late in regulation time. Webb allowed Robben to continue and attempt a shot.

FIFA is likely to open a disciplinary case against the Dutch team, and can also investigate Spain.

In FIFA's disciplinary code, article 52 relating to team misconduct calls for national teams to be fined if at least five players receive yellow cards in a match.

Blatter was booed by some sections in the 84,490 crowd at Soccer City on Sunday when his name was announced and he walked on the field for pre-match ceremonies with the teams.

"I was only aware there were less vuvuzelas," Blatter said. "I have been received like a friend, like an African, in this country."

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