Costa Rica manager Jorge Luis Pinto has urged referee Ravshan Irmatov to keep a close eye on Arjen Robben’s antics during Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against the Netherlands.
One of the standout players of the tournament thus far, Robben previously admitted to diving in the first-half of the side’s 2-1 last 16 win over Mexico, while also receiving criticism for appearing to go down easily to earn a stoppage-time penalty which Klaas-Jan Huntelaar converted for the win.
With the 30-year-old having developed a reputation over the years for such tricks, Pinto is thus concerned about the same thing occurring in their upcoming clash.
‘We are really worried about it,’ he said. ‘I would like to ask FIFA and the referees to watch Robben closely.
‘I think he is one of the three or four best players in the world but we have to say that there have been mistakes in this World Cup and we're really worried about Robben's diving, which he admitted.
‘We hope that there are no mistakes so, please, I would like to ask FIFA and the officials to watch out and be careful. This is very important and could have a big impact on the result.’
Also asked if he would like to see the pacey forward booked if deemed guilty of simulation, Pinto agreed that would be the best deterrent
‘That would be the most logical conclusion,’ he stated. ‘Maybe he would have to leave the field for diving twice. That could happen.
‘But you know what? I want to trust the referee, so let's just hope nothing happens.’
Having thwarted Uruguay, Italy and England on their way to topping Group D, as well as overcoming Greece on penalties in the last 16, Saturday’s matchup poses by far Costa Rica’s biggest test of the World Cup thus far, as they look to find a way to keep the likes of Robben and Robin van Persie quiet for 90 minutes.
After defying all pre-tournament predictions in recent weeks, another upset against the formidable Dutch side would be a truly miraculous outcome, on top of what’s already been a phenomenal summer for the CONCACAF outfit.