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?