Football

Arjen Robben: Ultimate cheat or ultimate professional?

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In the space of five minutes, Mexico went from being on their way to Salvador to getting on board a plane to fly back home from Brazil.

Arjen Robben stumbled into the penalty area in the final moments to win his side a decisive penalty that was executed by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, sending the Dutch into the final eight.

Diving

Robben has a reputation for diving and several times in the match, the winger appeared to fall to easily. Now he has admitted that on the one occasion but ironically he wasn't on about the final fall. Should we believe him or should we now accept the fact that the Bayern man will do anything to win - even if that means cheat? 

Diving has become a major issue over the last decade as the prizes as stake grow and grow. Not only is it the trophy and the money at stake for the Netherlands but it may be more to do with the lack of stars on their shirts.

Last eight

They have appeared in three World Cup finals and have lost all of them - most recently in 2010 in South Africa where they lost 1-0 to Spain. And even then, it appeared the Dutch were doing anything to win as they committed foul after foul to break down the Spanish momentum. This time it is different. Louis Van Gaal side are playing more tactical and although their win against Mexico wasn't in true Dutch fashion, they got the win.

Still, it was hardly their ability to counter act pressure from the opposition and then hit them on the break that won them the game but more a crude piece of acting from their star man. 

Following their win, Robben told  told Dutch television: "I have to apologise. In the first half I took a dive. The one at the end was a penalty."

Instead of sporting honesty, this appears to be a sympathetic cover up. At 30-years-old, Robben has learnt his tricks of the trade - besides this is his sixth major International tournament.

The foul which he references shows Robben being tackled by two of the Mexican defenders where one catches the back of his foot where he keeps his footing and then he is swept aside by a sliding challenge just after. This was the dive. In the 94th minute, he reaches the byline and cuts in side, wrong-footing Rafael Marquez who then plants his right foot down, giving Robben the chance to drop to the floor, hyper extending his legs out and screaming on his way down. This was the foul. 

Star man

Undoubtedly, Robben makes the most of the challenge. It is the final minutes, Mexico had withstood all their pressure, Huntelaar has made a minimal impact in place of Van Persie and the Fortaleza heat is making this no easier. With all this in mind, it was crucial that he convince the referee he has been impeded even when he hasnt been denied a goal scoring chance and had no intention of passing the ball off to a team mate. 

This was a true act of gamesmanship - the art of winning games by using various ploys and tactics to gain a psychological advantage. There is no doubt Robben is game winner and by no means is it against the laws of the game to appeal for decisions.

Anyway, it is often the managers who convince their players to go down when they have been fouled. But considering that decisions have been made so that the referees punish players to distinctly diving, when will it be time to look deeper into the issue by furthering the games reach into technology to stop everyone getting away with. Or should the game remain the same so that this debate can carry on? 

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Topics:
World Cup
Arjen Robben
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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