Robben in World Cup diving storm
Posted Tuesday, July 1 2014 at 01:00
Soccer. Arjen Robben could face disciplinary action following his admission that he dived during Holland’s 2-1 victory over Mexico in the World Cup second round.
RIO DE JANEIRO.
Dutch star Arjen Robben remained at the centre of a diving storm Monday after the Netherlands’ controversial 2-1 World Cup win over Mexico.
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera said the penalty was “invented” and debate intensified after the Bayern Munich striker admitted he had dived in the first half in a bid to get a spot kick.
Wesley Sneijder and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar led a late Dutch fightback to beat Mexico 2-1 while Costa Rica advanced with a dramatic 5-3 penalty shoot-out win over Greece. France play Nigeria and Germany take on Algeria in Monday’s last 16 games.
Robben, who is often accused of going to ground too easily, fell in injury time after a tackle by Mexico’s Rafael Marquez. Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca pointed to the spot and Huntelaar stepped up to bury the winning penalty.
It came just moments after Sneijder had scored an 88th-minute equaliser to cancel out Giovani dos Santos’s superb goal for Mexico. Robben admitted to diving in an unsuccessful attempt to win a penalty earlier in the first half.
“I really have to say and at the same time apologise in the first half I took a dive and I really shouldn’t do that,” Robben said.“That was a stupid, stupid thing to do but sometimes you’re expecting to be struck and then they pull their leg away at the last minute.” But he insisted he had been fouled in injury time. Mexico were furious however and coach Herrera lashed out at referee Proenca for awarding the penalty. “The penalty was invented,” said Herrera who added that Robben should have been punished.
“The determining factor was the man with the whistle. He put us of the World Cup,” said Herrera, whose country has now lost in six consecutive last 16 games.
New Latin America test
The Dutch now face a new Latin American test when they play Costa Rica in the quarter finals in Salvador on Saturday. Tens of thousands celebrated with firecrackers and music in towns across the tiny Central American nation after their famous shootout victory over Greece.
Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas was the hero, saving Greece’s fourth penalty from Fanis Gekas before Michael Umana stepped up to convert the winning spot-kick for “Los Ticos.”
Costa Rica took the lead on 52 minutes through captain Bryan Ruiz. But the dismissal of defender Oscar Duarte for his second yellow card gave the Greeks hope and with just seconds remaining, Navas could only parry a shot from Fanis Gekas, and Sokratis Papastathopoulos was on hand to sweep home the equaliser.
Extra time came and went with no new goals, forcing the shoot-out lottery and Navas’ heroics.
Mexico have been knocked out of the World Cup finals at the second round stage in all six editions since 1994; no team has been knocked out at this stage as often as this.
The Netherlands have converted all nine World Cup penalties they have taken