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Arjen Robben (Netherlands): 2014 World Cup Golden Ball Contenders

Do Arjen Robben’s diving antics detract from his exceptional performances?

READ THE CASE FOR THE OTHER CONTENDERS:
Lionel Messi (ARGENTINA)
Thomas Muller (GERMANY)
Neymar (BRAZIL)
James Rodriguez (COLOMBIA)

The argument for Arjen Robben to win the Golden Ball:

Robben opened the tournament for the Dutch with a bang – helping his country obliterate World Cup champions Spain 5-1, in what’s still the most unexpected scoreline of the competition so far.

The 30-year-old’s pace and direct running caused world-class defenders like Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique nightmares, and he weighed in with two brilliant goals to put the seal on one of the individual performances of the tournament so far. For his second goal, Robben outpaced Ramos, put both the defender and Iker Casillas on the floor by feigning to shoot, before coolly slotting home with his left. The goal was a thing of beauty, and was a sign of things to come for Bayern Munich’s world-class winger.

Verses Australia in Holland’s next match, Robben again showed his almost unmatched dribbling ability to speed into the opposition box and finish again with his left – helping Holland qualify from Group B. Again he impressed in Holland’s 2-0 win over Chile, before winning the crucial penalty against Mexico in the Last 16, following clever dribbling in the box – that saw Klaas Jan Huntelaar bag a last minute winner from the spot.

With the quarter-finals looming, the Dutch will need their flying winger to be at his dynamic best – and with Costa Rica having yet to face anything of his ilk in the tournament so far, few would bet against him putting the Central American minnows to the sword.

You can see Robben’s phenomenal second goal against the Spanish below…

Why Arjen Robben won’t win it:

One reason stands out, and it’s got little to do with Robben’s effect on the matches he’s so far played in.

It was known before the competition, but Robben’s penchant for diving has been there for all to see so far this summer, and the winger has even admitted to doing so in the press.

Against Mexico, he took one terrible dive, and arguably two – although there was contact for the last minute penalty he won. With diving a real bugbear of fans all over the globe, it’s unlikely that FIFA would want to award its Golden Ball to one of football’s biggest components of the irritating art.

Elsewhere – the performances of James Rodriguez for Colombia, Neymar for Brazil and Lionel Messi for Argentina have been exceptional – but Robben is arguably the only of these players to perform superbly against an elite nation (Spain) so far.

Below you can see the dive in question, and a series of internet jokes and memes which have been created to mock the star.

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