The Bayern Munich man looked to be heading home after a frustrating hour against Mexico, but the 30-year-old inevitably made a massive contribution as the Dutch came from behind
And the Netherlands' clash with Mexico in the last 16 of the tournament was no different. Goal runs the rule over the Dutchman's performance in Fortaleza as his side came from behind in dramatic fashion.
|PERFORMANCE AGAINST MEXICO
Robben's pace in the sweltering heat of Brazil has been one of the features of this World Cup, and it took the Dutchman just 15 minutes to showcase his speed with a trademark run, though his appeals for handball after a resulting cross bounced off of Rafael Marquez were waved away.
It was a frustrating first half for the Bayern Munich man, who made just seven passes, saw less of the ball than Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder, and failed to muster a shot on goal.
However, with half-time approaching Robben might have had a penalty. After receiving a pass from Van Persie, he was bundled over by both Marquez and Alberto Moreno but again denied a spot-kick by referee Pedro Proenca.
In the second half - and with the Netherlands trailing to Giovani dos Santos's brilliant strike - Robben twice created chances for his side. First, his excellent corner found Stefan de Vrij, whose header was remarkably saved by Guillermo Ochoa. Then, the forward played in Sneijder, but his shot was deflected agonisingly wide.
Having drifted into wider positions after the interval, Robben again sent in a cross from the right which nearly found Sneijder in behind the Mexico defence.
With just over 15 minutes to play it was Robben again looking to carve Mexico open with a darting run past Francisco Rodriguez but he was again denied by the impressive Ochoa.
And after Sneijder's equaliser, the 30-year-old made a telling contribution in dramatic fashion, finally winning a spot-kick in stoppage time after going down over the dangling leg of Marquez.
The contact was minimal and exaggerated, but Klaas-Jan Huntelaar made no mistake from the spot and the Dutch advanced.
|HE'D BE PERFECT FOR...
How Van Gaal must wish he could prise Robben away from Bayern Munich and bring the 30-year-old with him to Manchester United.
Robben is one of the new Old Trafford manager's most trusted players. Van Gaal guaranteed him a place at the World Cup long before he announced his 23-man squad, along with United striker Robin van Persie.
The Bayern star would inject some much-needed energy into a United strikeforce which lacked a spark last season, alongside Van Persie, Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney.
Arsenal, similarly, are in the market for a wide man they can utilise as a central striker. Robben certainly fits the bill.
Any departure from Bayern, however, looks highly unlikely.
|WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Having signed a contract extension with Bayern in March this year, Robben looks set to stay in Munich for the foreseeable future.
Robben's deal runs until 2017. By the time it expires, he will be 33 years old and surely in the latter stages of his career and could even retire in Germany.
"I am very happy that the contract has been signed now and I will continue to fight for trophies with Bayern," he said in March.
"I am currently in my fifth year at Bayern and there are three more to come. This is the perfect signal to show that my family and I are very happy in Munich and at Bayern.
"I am looking forward to the next few years and many more titles."