Arjen Robben's dive admission misinterpreted, say Netherlands
Statement made after Robben says he tried for a penalty against Mexico – just not the one given
The Dutch Football Association yesterday hit back at reporting of comments by Arjen Robben about the penalties he claimed in the Netherlands' World Cup victory over Mexico no Sunday.
The association, the KNVB, said Robben's comments, in which he admitted diving to try and get a penalty in the first half, were interpreted "completely wrong".
"KNVB is unpleasantly surprised by publications in the media about the Dutch penalty in the match versus Mexico," read a statement. "Media have interpreted statements from Robben in a Dutch post match interview completely wrong."
The 30-year-old Bayern Munich star won a penalty injury time that was converted by Jan-Klaas Huntelaar for a 2-1 win in Fortaleza.
Robben said after the game he had dived in a bid to get a penalty in the first half but that he was definitely fouled in injury time when he fell after a challenge by Mexico captain Rafael Marquez. Robben apologised for his action in the first half.
"In a studio interview with Dutch broadcaster NOS, the forward stated that the decision of the referee to give a penalty in the second half of the game was perfectly right," said the KNVB. "However, in the same interview Robben referred to two situations earlier in the match, when he was brought down. The striker stated that in one of those situations he should have been granted a penalty, but that in the other case he was falling too easily."
Fifa said Robben would not face any disciplinary action over after admitting to diving. The governing body's spokeswoman Delia Fischer said sanctioning after the fact only applied to "serious infringements of foul play which have escaped the notice of the match officials."
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera had earlier launched a furious attack on referee Pedro Proenca for giving the penalty, saying Proenca should take no more part in the World Cup. "The determining factor was the man with the whistle," he said. "He put us out of the World Cup.
"Although the first goal was down to our mistake, we had the chance to reconsider during the break before extra time, but at the end when the referee invents a penalty you go out. At the very least they can look at this and this gentleman ought to be going home like us."
Giovani dos Santos' strike just after half-time appeared to have Mexico on course for their first quarter-final appearance at a World Cup on foreign soil. The Dutch goals stunned the Mexicans, however, and Herrera admitted his side had lacked experience in how to see the game out.
"Maybe we were missing what teams like Argentina, Uruguay and those with experience of winning do. We had four minutes to go plus stoppage time and we should have put the ball in the corner."
Dutch newspapers were divided yesterday over whether Robben's actions in winning the penalty were "exaggerated".
"Robben already deserved a penalty kick earlier in the match, when he was first touched by Marquez and then brought down by Hector Moreno," populist broadsheet De Telegraaf stated. "Finally in injury time Robben got his deserved penalty."
De Volkskrant, which called the win a "miracle escape due to team and fighting spirit" was more guarded. "Robben was a boxer looking for the knockout blow against a reeling opponent," the paper said. "Finally, [he] got a desired penalty after a somewhat exaggerated fall."
The NRC Next tabloid, meanwhile, said Robben's fall was "somewhat theatrical".