HOLLAND 2 MEXICO 1
HOLLAND winger Arjen Robben was dragged into another diving row last night after the Dutch scored two last-ditch goals to defeat Mexico and set up a World Cup quarter-final against Costa Rica.
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera accused former Chelsea star Robben of cheating to win the penalty from which Klaas-Jan Huntelaar struck the 94th-minute winner and insisted that Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca should be sent home.
Just moments earlier Wesley Sneijder had lashed in an 89th-minute equaliser, cancelling out the volley struck by former Spurs star Giovani Dos Santos just after half-time.
“Robben did three dives and he should have been cautioned. You should caution a guy who is trying to cheat, and then if Robben did it again he would be sent off,” said Herrera.
“The doubtful decisions were always against us. We have to say it in capital letters: in three matches we had horrible refereeing. The man with the whistle knocked us. I want the referee committee to take a look and that the referee goes home just like us.”
Holland coach Louis van Gaal admitted using the first official drinks breaks in World Cup history, as mid-afternoon temperatures in Fortaleza hit 39C, to deliver vital team-talks.
“I moved to a Plan B and yes I did that in the cooling break but that’s a clever way of benefiting from these breaks,” said the Manchester United manager-in-waiting.
Such heat suited Mexico better than the Dutch, who lost midfielder Nigel de Jong to injury just nine minutes in and looked vulnerable to Miguel Layun’s left-wing pace and Hector Herrera’s bursts into the box.
Robben served warning of what was to come when he ran onto Robin van Persie’s pass only to be chopped down by Hector Moreno and Rafael Marquez. Referee Proenca signalled no penalty.
Dos Santos compounded the blow seconds after half-time when he aimed his low, dipping volley through two Holland defenders and into the bottom right corner.
Van Gaal threw on young forward Memphis Depay but looked set to be frustrated as out-of-contract Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa performed heroics and Proenca turned down another Robben penalty claim.
With less than two minutes left Galatasaray’s Sneijder equalised, volleying low from 18 yards, and Huntelaar struck the dramatic winner after Marquez fouled Robben, Proenca relented and the striker, on for star man Robin van Persie, shrugged off misses in four of his five previous spot-kicks to send Ochoa the wrong way.