Mexico coach Herrera blames referee for dramatic loss to Netherlands

Fortaleza (Brazil), June 30 (IANS) Mexico coach Miguel Herrera strongly criticised the officiating in Mexico's 1-2 dramatic loss to the Netherlands in the FIFA World Cup round of 16 here Sunday.

The Dutch victory marked the first time in World Cup knockout round history that a team trailing in the 88th minute won in regular time, reports Xinhua.

Herrera told the press conference that Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca should have booked Dutch winger Arjen Robben for his theatrics and diving.

Robben collapsed under the slightest of touches from Rafael Marquez and earned an injury-time penalty. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar converted from the spot to gift the Dutch the win.

"We ended up losing because he whistled a penalty that did not exist. Robben dived three times. The referee should have cautioned him," he noted.

Mexico, who had been eliminated from the round of 16 five times in a row, failed to break the jinx. The last time Mexico made the quarterfinals was when it hosted the tournament in 1986.

"The referee should have gone back and cautioned the guy that tried to cheat and then this would not happen again because we would be saying that if the referee is fair," Herrera said.

"Then their second goal wouldn't exist and Robben would have been expelled or suspended with a second yellow card. But if you do nothing the first time then the player knows that the referee won't kick you out, he won't caution you, not say anything."

Herrera also questioned the use of a Portuguese referee for the match.

"Why do they bring referees from other confederations, South America, Africa, the Asians if ultimately they are going to have referee from the same confederation of the team you are playing against?" Herrera said.

"Because doubtful decisions were always against Mexico."

"I repeat, in four matches that we played, in three, I repeat three, we had referees against Mexico," Herrera said.

"Two goals against Cameroon, two penalties in one same play against Croatia and today a penalty against us."

In Group A, Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0, tied hosts Brazil 0-0, and hammered Croatia 3-1, finishing second.