World Cup star: Arjen Robben. Photo: Getty Images
Belo Horizonte: So often in life people remember the worst things about an individual, not the best. The positive things they have done are outweighed by a handful of negatives, and that is how they are recalled. That sentiment has never been more appropriate for a player than for Dutch star Arjen Robben, whose brilliance at this World Cup is likely to be overshadowed by his reputation as a diver.
When on top form - which he has been through most of this tournament - the Bayern Munich winger is virtually unplayable. Australia can testify to that having tried to curtail him in their group game in Porto Alegre last month when he scored the opening goal and caused problems for the Socceroos defence all game, picking up the man-of-the-match award in the process..
Although now 30, Robben has the sort of pace which younger players can only dream of.
Arjen Robben has been in destructive fun during the World Cup. Photo: AP
He has power and skill, he works hard, he scores goals, he sets them up and in this World Cup he has been completely committed to the Oranje cause, a real team player.
He should be in the running for the player of the tournament award given the impact he has had on The Netherlands march to the semi-final.
But his tendency to flop over and exaggerate any contact, however small, in the hope of winning free-kicks and penalties is the thing that he now is most known for. It is the activity that provokes the ire and disgust of non-Dutch fans all over the world, who regard him as a serial diver and a cheat.
Robben's World Cup performances have been overshadowed by diving claims. Photo: AFP
It is part of his professionalism, of course, although that in itself is an unhappy facet of the modern game and tarnishes its image in emerging football countries like Australia, where mainstream fans are more used to sports in which reactions to challenges are more robust.
Robben has argued that if contact is made and he is fouled, however minor the offence may be, then he is entitled to make the most of it for himself and his team.
He admitted to doing as much after the Dutch victory in the dramatic round-of-16 match against Mexico where they snatched two goals in the last three minutes to overturn a one goal deficit.
Fouled: Dutch striker Arjen Robben is tripped by Rafael Marquez of Mexico. Photo: Getty Images
The second of these came in the dying seconds when Robben, having been tripped by Rafa Marquez, went flying through the air with the kind of swallow dive that the more ostentatious rugby players have taken to using to celebrate going over the line for a try.
There had been contact, and it was a penalty, if perhaps a soft one. But the way the Dutchman went down made a lot of the neutrals wince. His admission of exaggerating the impact of fouls referred to incidents in the first half, not the one that earned the winning penalty.
Distasteful as it may be, Robben is not the only player in history to have gone down and made things look as bad as they can.
Neymar, before the injury that put him out of the tournament, made a few challenges appear worse than they might have been, while other players have milked situations as much as they can, now and in the past. The USA's much-admired coach Jurgen Klinsmann, when he was a player in the German national team in the 1990s, was one of the worst exponents of the dive.
Still, that hasn't stopped other coaches trying to make an issue of his tendency to fall over and influence referees before games. Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto referred to it several times in the pre-match press conference before their quarter-final, even suggesting that the referee should book the Dutchman for diving early on if he fell over.
The debate over Robben's ''floppiness'' should not disguise the fact that the Dutch winger is a superb player, and always has been.
He has had spells at Chelsea (when as a youngster he moved from PSV Eindhoven to the Premier League and was part of the club's first title-winning team in 50 years) and Real Madrid before moving to the Bundesliga, where he helped Bayern to a Champions League victory in 2012-13.
His athleticism and power allows him to beat players with pace, but his technical ability gives him the capacity to make space through a drop of the shoulder or a flick of the ball. And his versatility means he is capable of playing on either the right or the left, or coming through the centre from wide areas to link up with Robin van Persie.
Robben ran his guts out in the quarter-final win over Costa Rica, where he was a constant threat. He beat players, he set up chances, fired in shots, won free kicks and was his team's most dangerous player.
And at the end of it all, despite the joy of winning, he made clear his frustration that one facet of his game is being focussed on to the exclusion of the rest.
“In recent days there has been a lot of talk about diving and actually I’m tired of this bull****. I get kicked from all sides, but luckily I am still fit,'' he declared.
Robben is sure to prove a thorn in the side of the Argentinians, who have not looked the most convincing defence in the competition.
The Dutchman is, like his teammates desperate to atone for the disappointment of that World Cup final defeat of 2010 where they sullied the name of Netherlands football when they tried to kick the Spaniards off the pitch.
Ironically Robben had a clear chance to win it for the Dutch when he was clean through with just Spanish goalkeeper Iker Cassillas to beat. The shot stopper dived and saved with his feet, and although it would have been easy for the winger to go to ground, he didn't.