World Cup: 'honest' Arjen's clear conscience
Arjen Robben admits to simulation in the World Cup match against Mexico, but insists the incident which saw him awarded a penalty was a foul.PT2M19S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-3b557 620 349 July 1, 2014
Arjen Robben has argued that he is guilty only of being too honest after he escaped punishment from FIFA despite admitting that he had dived during Holland's 2-1 last-16 victory against Mexico.
There had been calls, most notably from Mexico's manager Miguel Herrera, for Robben to be disciplined by FIFA after he labelled the Dutch winger a "cheat" during an angry post-match press conference.
Herrera claimed that Robben had dived several times in the game, most notably to earn the late penalty, which was converted by Klaas-Jan -Huntelaar.
Fouled: Dutch striker Arjen Robben is tripped by Rafael Marquez of Mexico. Photo: Getty Images
FIFA, though, has decided not to take retrospective action against Robben, despite the player's admittance on Dutch television that he had dived in the match.
Robben dismissed suggestions that he had a case to answer, while insisting that he had nothing to feel guilty about, despite Mexico's accusations.
Asked whether he had feared FIFA would discipline him, Robben replied: "No, not at all, why? No. I was not afraid, no. I am an honest guy.
"It's a shame because yesterday in an interview after the game I was very honest. Maybe sometimes you are punished for honesty, but I always prefer to be honest.
"I said there was one foul in the first half where I went to the ground because I thought he would tackle me, but he took his leg away at the last moment and I went to the ground without a touch.
"It was a stupid action from me, but it had no influence on the game, it had nothing to do with the penalty kick."
Robben's mazy run into the Mexico area was halted by a challenge from Rafael Marquez, with the winger theatrically throwing himself over the defender's leg despite minimal, if any, contact before he did so.
Robben was clear in his response. "In the first half we should have had a penalty kick," the Dutchman said. "In the second half, the penalty at the end was a clear foul. There should be no discussion about that.
"It is a shame there is so much discussion because we put on a great performance as a team. That should be the main thing. Sometimes, you know, I like to be honest and I apologise for this action in the first half, but that is football. It had nothing to do with the result of the game."
Fifa repeated its calls for fair play at the tournament yesterday, but also said it was up the match officials to make decisions on the pitch and said Robben's post-match comments did not amount to a "serious infringement" of the rules.
Delia Fischer, a Fifa spokeswoman, said: "We ask the players to play in the spirit of fair play. It's up to the referees to manage a match."
The Telegraph, London