Furious: Mexico's coach Miguel Herrera

Furious: Mexico's coach Miguel Herrera Photo: Reuters

An incandescent Miguel Herrera on Sunday night accused Arjen Robben of being a cheat. The Mexican manager also insisted that his team had been eliminated from the World Cup through a refereeing conspiracy.

"Today it was not a wonderful goal that put us out, it was bad decision by the referee, an invented penalty," Herrera said. "It seems to me that the reason we were eliminated was the man with the whistle.

"Although their first goal was good and came from a mistake on our part, the game was heading to extra time. But if the referee invents a penalty of that size, you leave the World Cup after circumstances not created by you. And Robben dived three times for penalties that didn't exist. He should have been cautioned. If you do that to the guy who tries to cheat, then he can't cheat again."

Fouled: Dutch striker Arjen Robben is tripped by Rafael Marquez of Mexico.

Fouled: Dutch striker Arjen Robben is tripped by Rafael Marquez of Mexico. Photo: Getty Images

It was Robben earning the penalty in the game's final moments that took Holland through to the quarter final. The Dutch playmaker admitted that he had dived earlier in the game when the referee waved played on after he had fallen outside the Mexican area.

"It is something I shouldn't have done," he told Dutch television. But he was clear that there was contact from the Mexican captain, Gabriel Marquez, in those dying moments. Replays suggest he was right.

"That one was a penalty," Robben said. "But the other in the first half was a dive. I must apologise."

Officials separate Herrera and Dutch captain Robin van Persie.

Officials separate Herrera and Dutch captain Robin van Persie. Photo: Reuters

His apology was not sufficient to placate Herrera, who could be seen pushing Robin van Persie, the Dutch captain, during a confrontation at the final whistle. The Mexican claimed that this was the third time his team had suffered from poor refereeing at the competition, and suggested there was an obvious cause.

"When they send a referee from the same confederation where your opponents come from, what do you expect," he said of the Portuguese official Pedro Proenica. "The least we can hope is that this gentleman now goes home just like us."

Herrera's counterpart Louis van Gaal, however, preferred to see the victory as a consequence of his players' fitness and fighting spirit as they overcame the most punishing of conditions. Plus his own tactical nous.

The schedule.

The schedule.

Van Gaal happily admitted that he had used the opportunity of the officially sanctioned drinks break midway through the second half to issue tactical instruction. "I moved to plan B," Van Gaal said of his changes in approach as Holland chased the game.

"And yes I did that in the cooling break. That's a clever way of benefiting from these breaks."

However, he appeared non-plussed when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar stepped up to take the critical penalty.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of the Netherlands scores a penalty. Click for more photos

World Cup 2014: Netherlands v Mexico highlights

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of the Netherlands scores a penalty. Photo: Reuters

"We have a sequence, an order for penalties and to be honest I expected Robben to take it," the Holland coach said. "But we know Klaas-Jan takes penalties at his club. Robben said to him do you want to take it. Klaas Jan doesn't need more encouragement. He is very cool."

Which is not a description that could apply to Herrera, a man fraying in the heat of a last-minute defeat at the World Cup.

The Telegraph, London