JOHANNESBURG - Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk made no apologies after his team used rough-arm tactics in an attempt to knock Spain out of their stride in a scrappy, niggly World Cup final on Sunday.
The Dutch will have to shoulder the blame after one of the roughest World Cup finals on record, won 1-0 by Spain, produced 47 fouls, 13 yellow cards and one red on Sunday.
Led by their bruising midfield enforcer Mark van Bommel, the Dutch used physical intimidation to try and knock the Spanish off their elegant passing game.
Van Bommel, who committed five of the Dutch's 28 fouls, was lucky not to get a first half red card for slicing through Andres Iniesta's left leg.
Nigel de Jong could also have followed with a chest-high tackle on Xabi Alonso in a Dutch display which at times bordered on brutal.
It worked up to a point as the Spanish were knocked out of their stride for the first hour.
However, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, while refusing to directly criticise the Dutch tactics, said the effort required might have taken its toll on his team's opponents.
"I congratulate our opponents who gave us a very hard time and never let us get comfortable," said Del Bosque.
"It's very difficult to play for 90 minutes at the rhythm they imposed, they had a great physical effort and we dominated extra time."
Van Marwijk said: "It's still our intention to play beautiful football but we were facing very good opponents," he said.
"We committed fouls but so did both teams and that may be regrettable for a final. It's not our style but then again you play a match to win because it's a final, there's a lot of emotion, you saw that at the end of the match.
"I would love to have won the match even with not so beautiful football."comments