World Cup: Holland’s Arjen Robben says sorry for Mexican match-winning dive


Mexico coach Miguel Herrera attacks Arjen Robben for diving and Fifa for choosing a referee from the same continent as Holland for controversial World Cup round of 16 tie

An incandescent Miguel Herrera has accused Holland‘s Arjen Robben of being a cheat. The Mexico manager also insisted that his team had been eliminated from the World Cup through a refereeing conspiracy.

“Today it was not a wonderful goal that put us out, it was bad decision by the referee, an invented penalty,” he said of the injury-time spotkick that secured a 2-1 win for the Dutch.

“It seems to me that the reason we were eliminated was the man with the whistle. Although their first goal was good and came from a mistake on our part, the game was heading to extra time. But if the referee invents a penalty of that size, you leave the World Cup after circumstances not created by you. And Robben dived three times for penalties that didn’t exist. He should have been cautioned. If you do that to the guy who tries to cheat, then he can’t cheat again.”

It was Robben earning the penalty in the game’s final moments that took Holland through to the quarter-final. The Dutch playmaker admitted that he had dived earlier in the game when the referee waved played on after he had fallen outside the Mexican area – “It is something I shouldn’t have done,” he told Dutch television. But he was clear there was contact from the Mexican captain Rafael Marquez in those dying moments. And replays suggest he was right.

“That one was a penalty,” Robben said. “But the other in the first half was a dive. I must apologise.”