Arjen Robben Apologises for Diving vs. Mexico, Says He Was Fouled for PenaltyJune 29, 2014
Updates from Monday, June 30
Sky Sports' Bryan Swanson reports from FIFA's briefing and weighs in on Arjen Robben's actions from yesterday's match:
It will only be scant consolation for fans of Mexico, who were eliminated from the 2014 World Cup by the Netherlands on Sunday following a last-minute penalty from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, but Arjen Robben admitted to diving in the first half of the Dutch's 2-1 round-of-16 win.
As reported by Goal's Robin Bairner, the winger-turned-striker told NOS he did dive at the end of the first half in hopes of winning a penalty, though he felt the penalty that was eventually given at the end of the match was legitimate.
"I must apologise," Robben said. "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."
Robben went down after making very light contact with El Tri skipper Rafael Marquez deep into added time, and while the contact was definitely there, the Dutchman clearly sold it.
Here's the Vine, via World Cup 2014:
Most pundits seemed to agree Robben performed a dive, while also pointing out Marquez made a mistake by giving the Dutchman the opportunity to go down over his outstretched leg. The Daily Telegraph's Henry Winters summed it up quite well:
In contrast, the play Robben alluded to when he admitted to diving looked like a more conclusive penalty, so it is perhaps surprising to hear him claim he tried to sell a foul there, as shared by Bleacher Report UK:
Of course, Robben will never openly admit to diving for the penalty that eventually won his team the match. The Netherlands had to battle very hard to overcome a resilient Mexican team, and right now, all they will focus on is the next fixture on the schedule.
Robben and his teammates will face Costa Rica in the semi-finals, and given his reputation for going to the ground theatrically, fans can expect to see more close plays when Robben returns to the pitch Saturday.