I am not impressed by Klinsmann – Van Buyten

The Belgium defender says he is far from blown away by his former Bayern boss’ work with the US national team

Daniel van Buyten has hit out at his ‘unimpressive’ former Bayern Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann as the two get set to come head-to-head in the World Cup on Tuesday.

Van Buyten’s Belgium will take on the USA – who are coached by the former Germany boss – in the round of 16 in Salvador, bringing the two men together five years after Klinsmann was sacked by FCB.

The 36-year-old previously blasted Klinsmann for going back on his word during his time as Bayern coach, leaving the defender out of a key Champions League game against Sporting Lisbon having earlier told him he would start.

And, while many have lauded the German’s impact on international football, the Red Devils defender insists there is nothing special about his former boss’ approach.

“I am not impressed by Klinsmann. He is just a coach who knows how to conduct his group and get the maximum out of them by motivating them. The USA will certainly be organised,” Van Buyten told reporters at Belgium’s World Cup training base.

“He talks a lot about us, saying that we are favourites, but I think he thinks otherwise.

“They will be motivated and want to do everything possible to go into the quarter-finals. But that will also be the case for us.

“I hope it will be a good match and we will qualify.”

The reigning Bundesliga champion is the only player in the Belgium squad to have appeared at an international tournament prior to this World Cup, and he has been using his experience to help some of the younger squad members get used to the atmosphere in the camp.

“We are the youngest team at the World Cup, and I try to talk a lot with the young players so that they can be more free,” Van Buyten added. “But it’s not always easy to stay cool and calm, and that is the issue. This is the World Cup, it is not obvious.

“But I hope the next game will go well and that the young players are comfortable enough to give the best of themselves.”

Poll: Did Robben deserve penalty for Marquez tackle?

Was it or wasn’t it? Have your say…

Arjen Robben has never been far away from controversy and Netherlands’ last-16 clash with Mexico on Sunday saw him court more censure after he won a last-minute penalty in dubious circumstances.

The Bayern Munich star had several appeals for a spot-kick turned down before the referee finally granted him one in second-half stoppage time after a tackle from Rafael Marquez.

But, did the Oranje winger warrant a penalty? Have your say in our poll below.

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Robben apologises for diving against Mexico

The Bayern Munich winger won a spot-kick in injury time to enable Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to score the winner but admitted going to ground too easily earlier in the match

By Robin Bairner in Fortaleza

Arjen Robben has apologised for diving during Netherland’s dramatic comeback victory over Mexico in the World Cup round of 16 at Arena Castelao on Sunday.

Robben tormented the Mexican defence on numerous occasions with his pace, skill and direct running, and had several penalty appeals turned down before finally winning a spot-kick in the second minute of injury time when he went down under a challenge from Rafael Marquez.

Substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar converted from 12 yards to send the Oranje into the last eight of the tournament, after Giovani dos Santos’ opener had been cancelled out by a late Wesley Sneijder equaliser.

5 – Arjen Robben has won five penalties in 14 Champions League + World Cup games this season. Expert.

— OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 29, 2014

After the match Robben insisted the incident which won the game was a justified penalty, but admitted going to ground far too easily on one occasion in the first half.

“I must apologise,” he told NOS. The one [at the end] was a penalty, but the other one was a dive in the first half. I shouldn’t be doing that.”

Robben also revealed why he entrusted Huntelaar with the responsibility of the penalty rather than taking it himself.

“Usually I am comfortable with taking a penalty, but this time I was the one who was tackled,” he explained. “I felt comfortable that Huntelaar would capitalise.

“It was his moment, he deserved this. I’m almost crying from the emotions. The feeling is so strong, we want to win this, to fight together. These youngsters … I am so proud.”

Dutch courage overshadowed by Robben dive

COMMENT: The Bayern Munich winger’s theatrical move in the dying moments prompted the referee to award the crucial spot-kick that sent the Netherlands through, leaving Mexico irate

By Robin Bairner in Fortaleza

When Robin van Persie trudged off, seemingly frazzled in the Fortaleza heat, to be replaced by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar it seemed that this would be the enduring image of the Netherlands’ 2014 World Cup exit, as they trailed 1-0 to Mexico with only 15 minutes remaining.

But Arjen Robben inspired Louis van Gaal’s side to react, though the manner from which Huntelaar’s decisive penalty was won by the Bayern Munich winger was controversial in the extreme.

Having watched Robben throw himself to the ground during Netherlands’ rare attacks in the first half, referee Pedro Proenca elected to award a stoppage-time penalty to the Dutch as the attacker theatrically collapsed to the deck under a challenge from Rafael Marquez.

Watching the incident on the big screen after the match, the remaining Mexico fans booed the act, and while it is likely some contact was made by the former Barcelona centre-back to the Dutchman’s boot, there can be little doubt that it did not merit the swan dive that it was subsequently met with.

It was an incident that soured an otherwise fine Dutch comeback.

Although they reached half-time scoreless and having edged possession, it had been the North Americans who had enjoyed by far the better moments, attacking dynamically down the left through Miguel Laylun and in the centre via Hector Herrera.

The rather peripheral figure of Giovani dos Santos gave them the initiative early in the second half with a searing shot, and as Van Persie faltered offensively and Guillermo Ochoa once again excelled, it appeared that this might be the match’s decisive act.

But Van Gaal gambled, withdrawing the ineffective Manchester United striker and replacing him with arch-poacher Huntelaar.

With two minutes of normal time remaining, Oranje still trailed, though when Mexico failed to adequately defend a corner kick it was the Schalke striker’s head down from which Wesley Sneijder pounced emphatically.

It was, however, primarily Robben who inspired the Dutch recovery. He would make several impressive surges down the flank throughout the match and had invited problems in the Mexico rearguard – perhaps the only member of his side to do so.

When invited to make one last burst down the right, Robben provided the game’s telling image. His initial spurt left the Mexican rearguard standing but as he checked back to beat Marquez, his flailing arms were enough to convince the Portuguese referee of the validity of his claim.

It was an act of malevolent quick-wittedness sufficient to conquer the furnace of Fortaleza’s Estadio Castelao and account finally for the impressive Mexican challenge.

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Robben: Conditions will suit 'fearless' Mexico

The Netherlands forward believes that his side’s last-16 opponents will have a definite advantage by playing in Brazil, but is confident following the Oranje’s displays so far

Arjen Robben believes that Netherlands will need to be wary of Mexico, particularly as their opponents will be suited to the conditions in Fortaleza.

The Oranje have impressed so far after progressing as Group B winners with victory in all three games, including a shock 5-1 dismantling of Spain in their opening encounter.

However, Robben, who has scored three times in Brazil so far, insists that the Dutch should not dwell on their successes to date when they come up against Miguel Herrera’s men on Sunday.

“They are dangerous opponents,” the Bayern Munich attacker told the Times of India.

“Especially when the match is being played in Brazil, a country more familiar to them. They are fearless opponents and proved it against Brazil in their group league match [a 0-0 draw].

“It’s really been an unbelievable start for us. Before the World Cup, if you had said to me that we shall win all the three matches of the group, I would have not have believed you! But that’s football and we did almost everything right to qualify for the round of 16.”

Robben, who missed a golden opportunity when one-on-one with Iker Casillas in the final of the 2010 World Cup which the Dutch lost 1-0 to Spain, also stressed that he was pleased to have gone some way to making amends in this edition of the tournament.

“This was a new beginning,” he said of the 5-1 win over la Roja on June 13.

“We were not playing them in the final of the tournament, rather it was our first match. And we were behind them.

“Then we played a second half that was almost like a dream performance. As if, we could do whatever we wanted to. That was the most pleasing part of that performance.

“It was satisfying. My goal gave us the lead and we were unstoppable after that, scoring goals at will almost. Scoring five goals against the world champions is something we shall never be able to forget.”