Arjen Robben apologizes for early-match diving, but agrees with penalty call

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A trio of penalty shouts from Dutch winger Arjen Robben finally paid off in stoppage time, as the Netherlands converted the given spot-kick in the 94th minute to defeat Mexico 2-1.

Many, however, accused Robben of a dive, not just to earn the penalty but before that as well, calling for the referee to book the 3o-year-old for repeated simulation.

After the match, Robben said he believed the penalty was the right call, but apologized for having fallen to the ground easily a few times earlier.

“I must apologize,” he told Dutch TV channel NOS. “The one [at the end] was a penalty, but the other one was a dive in the first half. I shouldn’t be doing that.”  He also called it “awful and stupid.”

The apology won’t do much for Mexican manager Miguel Herrera, who was seething with Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca. Herrera said the referee “invented” the penalty and said “we will go home tomorrow or the day after, and we believe the referee should be going home too.”

Herrera said he believes the referee should have booked Robben after one of the first two dives, and it sounds like Robben somewhat agrees.

Robben was a menace down both flanks all match, as he completed seven of his eight take-ons, landed four crosses, and found the target on every single one of his 21 passes.