Dive of the Day: Robben Makes the Ultimate Sacrifice for the Netherlands

Slate's soccer blog.
June 29 2014 2:34 PM

Dive of the Day: Robben Makes the Ultimate Sacrifice for the Netherlands

Arjen Robben's final moments.

Javier Soriano / AFP

Dutch winger Arjen Robben earned a game-winning penalty for the Netherlands in their 2-1 victory over Mexico after being mortally wounded in the box in the second minute of injury time. Mexico captain Rafael Marquez’s big toe nicked Robben’s pinky toe, causing the Bayern Munich player’s internal organs to spontaneously combust on impact. Robben is survived by his wife Bernadien Eillert and their children. It was a sad and tragic loss for the Dutch national team and the entire soccer community, but the Netherlands can console themselves in the knowledge that it was Robben’s sacrifice that led to them advancing to the quarterfinals of the World Cup. Here is footage of the fateful incident.

We score dive of the day on three categories: level of actual contact (1 if there's no contact at all, 10 for a huge collision), level of simulated contact (1 for a stoic response, 10 for acting like you've been shot), and dive duration.


Level of actual contact: 3
Level of simulated contact: 10
Dive duration: 3 seconds 

Okay, so Arjen Robben didn’t actually die from that “foul.” But he sure made it look like he might have! And because of those fine acting abilities, Robben demonstrates why soccer players dive. Because it works! One note, the original title of this post was actually going to be “Robben Demonstrates Why It Doesn’t Pay to Dive.” This was because Robben was robbed of a penalty after being fouled twice in the box on a single play in injury time in the first half.

The ref didn’t give it though and, as multiple commenters noted on Twitter, he may have suffered from some “boy who cried wolf” syndrome on the basis of his reputation as a diver. All’s well that ends with a game-deciding-dive, I suppose.

Previously on Dive of the Day:

Jeremy Stahl is a Slate senior editor. You can follow him on Twitter.



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