The Spot

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:

June 12: Brazil’s Fred Gets the Dive of the Day—and It Might Be the Dive of the Tournament
June 13: Dive of the Day: Diego Costa Falls on a Dutchman
June 16: Dive of the Day: Oh No, Thomas Müller’s Beautiful Face!
June 17: Dive of the Day: Marcelo Appeals to Ref for Penalty, Then Flops
June 19: Dive of the Day: Drogba Goes Down
June 24: Dive of the Day: Luis Suárez’s Bite of the Day?
June 26: Dive of the Day: Lee Chung Yong Drops Like an Italian
June 28: Dive of the Day: Neymar Sends Himself Flying