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Arjen Robben apologizes for early-match diving, but agrees with penalty call

Jun 29, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

Robbendive AP

A trio of penalty shouts from Dutch winger Arjen Robben finally paid off in stoppage time, as the Netherlands converted the given spot-kick in the 94th minute to defeat Mexico 2-1.

Many, however, accused Robben of a dive, not just to earn the penalty but before that as well, calling for the referee to book the 3o-year-old for repeated simulation.

After the match, Robben said he believed the penalty was the right call, but apologized for having fallen to the ground easily a few times earlier.

“I must apologize,” he told Dutch TV channel NOS. “The one [at the end] was a penalty, but the other one was a dive in the first half. I shouldn’t be doing that.”  He also called it “awful and stupid.”

The apology won’t do much for Mexican manager Miguel Herrera, who was seething with Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca. Herrera said the referee “invented” the penalty and said “we will go home tomorrow or the day after, and we believe the referee should be going home too.”

Herrera said he believes the referee should have booked Robben after one of the first two dives, and it sounds like Robben somewhat agrees.

Robben was a menace down both flanks all match, as he completed seven of his eight take-ons, landed four crosses, and found the target on every single one of his 21 passes.

  1. braxtonrob - Jun 29, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    Mexico deserved better than that; they deserved Extra Time!
    Once again, poor ref’ing.

    • shadowshand - Jun 29, 2014 at 9:48 PM

      Never leave anything in the hands of the referees. Particularly anything important.

  2. lyleoross - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    There is a great book written by a couple of CIA analysts called “Spy the Lie.” It’s short, and a great read. One of the signs that someone is lying is when they admit to another lesser crime.

    No officer, I wasn’t speeding. I was speeding back awhile ago, but right there when I passed you, I was doing the speed limit.

    Robben dove three times, and didn’t get a warning, a foul, a caution, or a red. What a lousy deal for Mexico.

  3. lyleoross - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:06 PM

    A CONCACAF player walks into a bar, and there is only one seat open at the bar. On one side of the seat is Fred, and on the other is Robben. The CONCACAF player walks up and sits down and Fred and Robben fall to the ground. Fred jumps up and cries, “you knocked me off my seat, you need to buy me a beer.” A half second later, Robben cries, “no, he knocked me off my seat, he needs to buy me a beer!”

    The CONCACAF player, somewhat taken aback, shakes his head and says, “but I come from CONCACAF, we don’t have near the resources and power that you South American and European players have.”

    Fred looks at him and smiles a toothy grin, “that’s exactly why you are buying the beer my friend.”

    Robben also smiles, “you didn’t really knock me off the chair,” he says, “but you’re going to buy me a beer anyway.”

  4. goldmember21 - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    Glad Mexico is out. Viva Colombia!

  5. wjarvis - Jun 30, 2014 at 12:15 AM

    It probably should have been a foul at the end of the first half, but if the ref was going to swallow his whistle then he should have at the end of the game too. It may have actually been in Mexico’s favor to have gone down 1-0 at half, since they were dominating pretty much right up until they took the lead.

    I know this is a drastic step that won’t happen, but I’ve always wished that penalties could be enforced like they are in hockey. So for most penalties the offending team would be down a man for a set period of time say 2 to 5 minutes, and if it was an egregious foul that directly stopped a scoring chance the ref can award a kick. Since it wouldn’t necessarily be a game changing play to call a penalty, refs could call more fouls close to the box and hopefully call the games more consistently. I’ve always hated how much a dive can change a game and how you never know what is going to end up being a penalty close to the box.

  6. grm35741 - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:36 AM

    I would like to see a player who goes down for what ever reason(often a dive and time wasting) go out and stay out for 3 min. If he is really hurt it would take that long to recover. Playing short would discourage players laying around in the last 20 min trying to kill the game. EVERYONE knows they are not really injured and since you cant’ force them to stand up send them off for the help they claim they need.

    Post game reviews and punishment (example Robben’s two dives) would have them sit out the next game if the review clearly shows diving.
    .
    This nonsense could be ended if they wanted to

  7. jm91rs - Jun 30, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    Tough to give anyone a card for a dive, but if the Ref had done so earlier in this game Robben isn’t falling down on that penalty and they’re at least going to extra time. Dives and flops are an ugly part of the sport.

  8. heelfans - Jun 30, 2014 at 9:21 AM

    First there was the thuggery of the WC 2010 final and now we have “flopping” Robben! The Dutch used to be my favorite Euro team, “total football” and all that! Even Cruyff was embarrassed by their 2010 play. How the mighty have fallen. Sad!!

  9. mikeevergreen - Jun 30, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    This “Robben Hood” needs to find the inside of a jail cell in Nottingham.

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