English referee Howard Webb has described Sunday's World Cup final as 'the most difficult two hours' of his career.
The Rotherham official admitted he was 'physically and emotionally drained' following the hellish experience of handing out a record 13 yellow cards and one red during Spain's 1-0 extra-time win over a brutal Holland side.
Impossible job: Howard Webb is surrounded by players from both sides during an ill-tempered World Cup final
Webb, who is 39 on Wednesday, spent Monday resting at the FIFA officials' base near Pretoria but told a friend: 'Sunday night was the most difficult two hours of my entire career. I am physically and emotionally drained but FIFA have been very supportive - not just about the final but our performances throughout the whole tournament.'
Sportsmail understands that the world governing body believes England's refereeing team coped well in tough circumstances given Holland's thuggish approach, reserving praise for Webb's two assistants - Mike Mullarkey and Darren Cann - following two excellent offside decisions.
The English trio were expected back in London on Tuesday morning and will take a break before the Barclays Premier League season begins next month.
Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso tore into Nigel de Jong for 'one of the worst tackles' he has ever received.
Webb issued a yellow card for the Dutchman's kick, which Alonso fears has left him with fractured ribs. 'I am in pain now,' said Alonso.
Manchester City midfielder De Jong said: 'He gave the yellow card, so for me it was a little bit of luck.'