Webb to referee World Cup final

Howard Webb of England will referee the World Cup final.

FIFA named the 38-year-old former police officer on Thursday to take charge when the Netherlands and Spain meet at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on Sunday.

Webb has refereed three World Cup matches and has neither shown a red card nor awarded a penalty.

He handled Spain’s 1-0 loss to Switzerland, then won praise for controlling a dramatic end to Slovakia’s 3-2 win that eliminated defending champion Italy. He also refereed Brazil’s 3-0 second-round victory against Chile.

Webb and his assistants Darren Cann and Mike Mullarkey will complete a prestigious end-of-season double after officiating the Champions League final in May, when Inter Milan beat Bayern Munich in Madrid.

Webb becomes the first Englishman to referee the World Cup final since Jack Taylor took charge of the 1974 final. Taylor awarded the Netherlands a penalty in the first minute, which it scored, then gave another later in the first half for host nation West Germany to equalize before it went on to win 2-1.

Two years ago, Webb was sent home early by UEFA from his first major tournament, the European Championship.

Webb allowed a first-half goal to Poland in its group-stage match against Austria that should have been disallowed for offside.

The match is better remembered for the death threats Webb received from Polish fans after he correctly awarded Austria a penalty in stoppage time. The spot kick was converted for a 1-1 draw.

Poland’s prime minister at the time, Donald Tusk, even said he wanted to “kill” the English official.

FIFA also named Benito Archundia of Mexico to take charge of the third-place match between Uruguay and Germany on Saturday at Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.