Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
If Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk had slapped down Nigel de Jong after the World Cup final, Hatem Ben Arfa might now not be facing six months out with a broken leg.
Instead, only after a second “robust” challenge has De Jong been punished by being dropped for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers with Moldova and Sweden.
His kick to the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso in the World Cup final was bad enough but the Manchester City midfielder’s fierce tackle on Newcastle United’s Frenchman on Sunday caused real damage. Ben Arfa had to have oxygen on the field.
What happened to the beautiful game? Moreover, what’s happened to Van Marwijk to suddenly make this decision? Sunday’s challenge was not as bad as the World Cup final kick.