This morning the Dutch went out of the football (or soccer) World Cup in a penalty shoot out against Argentina. Neither side scored a goal in 120 minutes of time on the pitch, and the shoot out was required – leading to the Oranjes exit. The Argentinians won the shootout 4-2.

The Dutch were the form side of the competition. In the first game, they smashed the reigning champions Spain 5-1. Spain were hot favourites to win the entire tournament and this massive loss meant they had a huge amount of work to do to sneak through (and it proved too much). Arjen Robben and Robin Van Persie both scored a brace.

In their second game, the Dutch were lucky to beat the Australians – despite what their coach Louis Van Gaal might say, Van Persie and Robben both scored in the 3-2 victory. Australia just couldn’t find the third goal to get ahead of the Dutch, and then a momentary lapse cost the side. This was the game Tim Cahill scored the goal of the tournament.

In the final group stage, the Dutch played the Chileans, winning 2-0. Robin Van Persie didn’t play this match because he had been suspended for his second yellow card against Australia.  The Dutch goals came from other sources, and the Chileans got through anyway, with wins against Australia and Spain.

The Netherlands then went on to beat Mexico 2-1 in extremely controversial circumstances. Mexico were shaping up to be the dark horse of the competition with a near unbeatable keeper, and strong form. Until Arjen Robben dives in the penalty area in the 90th minute, earning a penalty for the Oranjes. Robben admits to diving post match

The Dutch then snuck through against the Costa Ricans on penalties. This was due to the ‘inspirational’ change of keeper in the 120th minute (after extra time). Changing goalkeeper from the smaller Jasper Cillessen to the larger Tim Krul. Krul decided that mind games before the penalties were taken was fair enough. Have a look below:

The Dutch campaign was marred with controversy. Arjne Robben’s dive against the Mexicans had the pundits talking and arguing whether it’s fair play. But really, if soccer -or football – is to make any inroads in more countries there really needs to be an acceptable standard of gamesmanship. If a player dives, then he should be given a yellow card. If it’s not picked up during the match, then perhaps they should be given a retrospective yellow card. Sending Mexico out of the World Cup in this sort of fashion was cruel and unforgivable. For the rest of the tournament, Arjen Robben faced some heat from the crowd, which was decidedly deserved.

Tim Krul’s antics are a little more debatable. He apparently told the Costa Ricans that he knew where they were going to kick the ball. And each time, he was right. Playing some mind games is a part of sport. But it certainly won’t endear Krul to a number of the sport’s fans. The best players don’t speak, they just play – and play well. They don’t need any cheating, diving or sledging to get the victory.

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