Arjen Robben courted further controversy at the World Cup by insisting he was fouled for the penalty that led to Holland's last-gasp 2-1 win over Mexico, but apologised for diving earlier in the match.
The winger was accused by the Mexico coach, Miguel Herrera, of committing three dives during the match in Fortaleza that saw Holland go through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
However Robben said in quotes attributed to Dutch television channel NOS: "The one at the end was a penalty, I was fouled. At the same time I have to apologise in the first half I took a dive and I really shouldn't do that. That was a stupid, stupid thing to do but sometimes you're expecting to be struck and then they pull their leg away at the last minute."
Herrera said the Portuguese referee, Pedro Proenca, should have taken action against the Bayern Munich winger, who went down under a challenge by Mexico’s captain, Rafael Marquez, in injury time. "Robben did three dives and he should have been cautioned,” said Herrera. “You should caution a guy who is trying to cheat and then if Robben did it again he would be sent off."
Holland won thanks to Klaas Jan Huntelaar's extra-time penalty, after Wesley Sneijder's 88th-minute volley had equalised Giovani Dos Santos' goal. Herrera claimed Mexico had been victims of bad refereeing in their group matches against Cameroon and Croatia as well.
"Out of the four matches here, in all of them the refereeing was disastrous,” he said. “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. And why did Fifa choose a referee from the same confederation as Holland instead of one from South America, Asia or Africa?
"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."
Herrera also attacked organisers for making the teams play in the heat and humidity of a 1pm kick-off in Fortaleza. "What goes against football is to have to play in these conditions,” he said. “The players were suffocated by the sun, heat and the humidity."
Holland’s manager, Louis van Gaal, admitted he used Fifa's new official cooling breaks – allowed during certain temperatures or humidity levels – to instruct his players on a change of tactics: "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."