Arjen Robben is a diving, cheating scumbag.
I have been away from a computer for 48-hours, since a visiting friend somehow managed to convince me that it would be a good idea to spend two days doing little to nothing on an idyllic island a few hours drive from Salvador. I have therefore had that sentence itching inside me since I saw Robben dive the Dutch to the quarter-finals, much as they did in the last World Cup all the way to the final.
Whilst we were away I got to watch four of the eight round of 16 matches on giant screens behind giant caipirinhas on giant beaches on Morro de São Paolo. Brazil was in tears (of relief) after beating brave Chile on penalties, in a game that proved two points:
-The World Cup can maybe be manipulated, but it’s tough to fix: who can fix a Chilean player hitting the post in the last minute of extra time? Sheer drama.
–Referees, going back to the Europa Cup Final which Benfica lost to Sevilla, have clearly given up on the rule about goalkeepers supposedly staying on their lines for penalties.
Later that day, the only truly impressive team left in the tournament, Colombia, had destroyed a Suarez-less Uruguay with some stunning goals and impressive team spirit.
Soon, France was struggling past Nigeria, and Germany required extra time to see off Algeria and end Africa’s interest in this year’s competition all in one day.
Argentina stuttered to yet another one-goal victory, (their fourth in a row), over a Swiss team who managed to hit the post in the last minute of extra time, and Holland had deservedly gone 1-0 down to Mexico before a goal from a corner minutes from full time looked like it had sent the game to an extra thirty, before Robben went down in the area and the Dutch went through 2-1.
That last one may even have been a penalty, (although I don’t think so). My anger stems from the fact that at least twice in the first half Robben had played the ‘Bambi on Ice-skates’ card: twice in the space of three seconds, he threw himself between players and onto the floor, and both times the referee had seen the dive, ignored the whines for a penalty, and let play continue.
And done nothing else.
I am fairly certain diving to win a penalty is a yellow card offence. Doing it twice in three seconds should therefore, technically, have been a red card offence, not the chance to carry on diving and eventually win the match for your team.
But that’s football these days: cheat all you want until it works, just don’t take your shirt off to celebrate a goal, and don’t advertise any companies FIFA don’t want you to.
Anyway, I have the ‘pleasure’ of seeing Holland back here in Salvador, where I will be cheering (probably in vain) for tiny Central American Costa Rica to knock them out of the cup after their 10-men sent Greece home on penalties, (proper ones, this time).
But you probably want to hear about the match I just walked in from, USA vs Belgium.
Well, it’s midnight, I have a friend to entertain, a bottle of Brooklyn vodka to drink, and no energy to tell you, so you’ll just have to wait until tomorrow.
There are (brace yourselves for some shocking news) two days with no matches coming up anyway, so you will need something to keep you busy tomorrow whilst you go through withdrawal!