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English team in World Cup final as Webb chosen to referee match

The first Englishman to make it to the World Cup final since 1974 will take to the pitch on Sunday in the form of Yorkshire-born referee Howard Webb.

The 38-year-old former police sergeant from Rotherham has been chosen for the final by Fifa's referees committee.

Webb and his fellow English assistants Darren Cann and Michael Mullarkey will officiate the showdown between Spain and Holland at Johannesburg's Soccer City.

The last Englishman to referee the final was Jack Taylor in 1974, when hosts West Germany beat Holland 2-1 — and Taylor famously awarded the Dutch a first-minute penalty.

Webb took a five-year break from South Yorkshire Police in 2008 so he could concentrate on his refereeing career.

During the Euro 2008 games he caused controversy when he awarded a penalty to Austria in the 92nd minute against Poland.

He has refereed three matches in this year's World Cup so far, starting off with

Spain's shock defeat by Switzerland. He followed these with the Brazil v Chile game and Slovakia v Italy.

He started his career on the pitch by refereeing locally at the age of 19, following in the footsteps of his father, who was also a referee.

In 2000, at the age of 29, he was included on the National List of Football League referees and three years later he was selected as a Premiership referee. In 2005, aged 34, he received his Fifa badge.

Belfast Telegraph