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Soccer-Robben says he dived but not for key penalty award

Reuters

(Adds FIFA taking no action)

By Mark Gleeson

SALVADOR, Brazil, June 30 (Reuters) - Netherlands winger Arjen Robben has said the controversial penalty he won in stoppage time against Mexico to secure victory in Sunday's last-16 clash was legitimate but admitted he dived earlier in the game.

The Dutch FA (KNVB) issued a statement on Monday seeking to clarify the media interpretation of Robben's quotes on Dutch television after the match when he discussed the late penalty call that saw the Netherlands win 2-1 at the Castelao arena.

Several media reports had erroneously reported that Robben admitted diving for the penalty that led to the victory.

"In reality Robben apologised for trying to win a penalty in the first half when he went down too early," said the statement, reported by NOS television.

"That was a stupid action," said Robben. "I want to say sorry. It was really dumb."

In the news release, Robben is quoted as saying the decision to award a penalty at the end of the game, when he went down under a challenge from Mexico captain Rafael Marquez, was correct.

In the television interview, Robben also claimed he should have been given two other penalties before halftime.

"He tackled me on the shin and then had to go off himself with injury," Robben said of Hector Moreno, who suffered a suspected broken leg in the incident.

"I was tackled again and if that wasn't a penalty, then I don't know what is," Robben told NOS.

FIFA said it would not take action against Robben for his first-half dive.

"We ask players to play in the spirit of fair play and it is up to referees to manage the match in all areas," a FIFA spokeswoman said on Monday.

Angry Mexico coach Miguel Herrera accused Robben of diving three times and said he should have been sent off.

"If the referee was fair, their second goal wouldn't exist because Arjen Robben would have been sent off for a second yellow card. But if you don't book him after the first one, then the player knows he can get away with it," he told the post-match news conference after Sunday's game. (Additional reporting by William Schomberg in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Ken Ferris and Justin Palmer)

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