Robben's diving a thing of the past: Coach
"I don't think he does it on purpose"
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
CAPE TOWN - Stopping The Netherland's dynamic duo of Sneijder & Robben will be difficult enough for Uruguay.
Stopping Robben from flopping all over the field in the hunt for fouls against the opposition, well, that might be impossible.
The heinous penchant for diving exhibited by Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben has become a hot topic at South Africa 2010, so much so that manager Bert Van Marwijk is grilled about it almost every time he meets with the media.
Finally, after days and weeks of being assaulted with such queries, Van Marwijk on Monday kind of admitted Robben does it. Check that. Used to do it. The inference: he does not engage in such theatrics any more.
At least not intentionally.
"I don't think he does it on purpose," the Dutch manager said. "He is incredibly fast and very creative. When you are like that you do get pushed ...
"In the past you may have said (he dives). But I think he's learned from that."
Not from what we've seen thus far in the tournament.
When asked about Robben's tendency to act out on the pitch, Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez took the high road, perhaps not wanting to provide his orange-clad opponents with any bulletin board fodder heading into Tuesday's semifinal at Green Point Stadium.
"I think since Robben has been back, (The Netherlands) have benefited greatly," Tabarez said. "As for the other thing, we can not determine what or if something is dramatic. In the end, only the referee's interpretation matters. You can not proceed emotionally in this.
"I do know this. Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, these are two players who are well above the average."
And two players Tabarez and his team had better hold in check.