Arjen Robben admitting he dove in an attempt to earn a penalty against Mexico was always going to have consequences. The winger may have legitimately earned Netherlands’ last-minute spot-kick, but it was always going to be a contentious call, one that’s made even more so with his confession shortly after the match.
Naturally, Jorge Luis Pinto is a bit nervous. His Costa Rica side are the underdogs going into their quarterfinal match with Netherlands, and he wants to make sure that the playing field is as even as possible. That’s why he’s calling attention to Robben, trying to make sure the officials are keeping an eye on him:
I think he is one of the three or four best players in the world. He is a great player but on the other hand we have to say there have been refereeing mistakes. We’re really worried about Robben’s diving. And he admitted it. I hope the referee watches him very closely tomorrow.
Pinto was also kind enough to provide a “logical solution” to the match officials: book Robben early if he dives. And then, perhaps, he will learn his lesson. “Maybe he would have to leave the field because he gets two yellow cards for diving,” said Pinto. “Why not? That could happen. I want to trust the referees. Let’s see what happens.”
Robben has certainly been the spark that’s brought Holland to life. His ability to race up the field and get behind defenders makes him difficult to stop – even for a side as devoted to defending as Pinto’s. Even for a side that has the fantastic Keylor Navas between the sticks.
Can you really blame Pinto for planting the subtle seeds of a sending-off?
Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect Derby Day, where Man City set the Premier League single season all time consecutive winning streak against rivals Man United, Jurgen Klopp had a bad day at the office against the blue half of Merseyside and Arsenal stutter again away from home.
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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…
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Villareal 0-2 Barcelona
The visitors struggled to break down Villareal’s back line throughout the opening 45 minutes, but the Blaugrana were aided by Raba’s second-half dismissal on Sunday. From there, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez helped Barca pick up its 12th win of the season and restore the club’s five-point lead over Valencia.
Messi’s goal — his 525th for the club — matched Gerd Muller’s Barca record on Sunday, while the finish was his 18th in all competitions this season.
Real Betis 0-1 Atletico Madrid
Saul Niguez scored his second goal of the La Liga season to help give Atletico an important road victory against Real Betis. Atleti now sits third in Spain’s top flight, but remains six points behind league leaders Barcelona.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Real Sociedad 0-2 Malaga
Levante 1-2 Athletic Bilbao
AC Milan 2-1 Bologna
Giacomo Bonaventura scored twice on Sunday to give AC Milan a victory at the San Siro. The midfielder opened the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes, before Simone Verdi’s finish in the 23rd minute leveled the match for Bologna. Bonaventura tabbed his second goal of the day in the 76th minute to give the Rossoneri a win and keep the team inside the top seven. Milan currently sits on 24 points through 16 matches.
Elsewhere in Serie A
Chievo Verona 0-0 Roma
Napoli 0-0 Fiorentina
SPAL 2-2 Hellas Verona
Udinese 2-0 Benevento
Sassuolo 2-1 Crotone
For only the second time this season, Dutch Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven have lost a league match.
Ajax stormed back for a 3-0 victory over PSV on Sunday in Der Topper, the long-standing rivalry between the two Dutch powerhouses.
[ MORE: Three things we learned from the Manchester Derby ]
The victory moves Ajax up to third place on 32 points this season, while PSV remains atop the league table on 39 points.
David Neres, Lasse Schöne and Donny van de Beek each scored in a span of 11 minutes after the halftime break to five the hosts a comfortable result.
Neres broke the deadlock in the 61st minute when he stunned PSV with a long-distance volley that couldn’t be dealt with by goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet.
Schone then found the back of the net three minutes later, while Van de Beek capped off the outing with the dagger in the 72 minute.
Sunday’s win also gives Ajax a slim advantage over their rival in the all-time Eredivisie series, 54-24-53.
Prior to this weekend, only one team in NCAA men’s soccer history had won three or more titles in consecutive years. Now, you can add Stanford to that list.
The Cardinal knocked off the Indiana Hoosiers, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon at Talen Energy Stadium behind Sam Werner’s extra-time winner.
[ MORE: Kamara, Zimmerman amongst biggest MLS trade moves on Sunday ]
Werner, who also scored the second goal for the Cardinal in Friday night’s 2-0 victory against the Akron Zips, provided the finish in the second overtime after powering a shot over Hoosiers goalkeeper Trey Muse.
On the cold day in Chester, PA, both sides struggled to come up with chances on goal, with the Hoosiers managing just one shot on target in the match.
Prior to 2015, Stanford had never won a College Cup in school history, however, the Cardinal are now tied for sixth in NCAA history with their third championship.
The University of St. Louis has captured the most titles in men’s soccer, with 10, while Indiana’s eight championships rank second.