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Netherlands v Brazil

Melo unhappy with Robben behaviour

July 3, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Felipe Melo has claimed the referee was "too harsh" following his dismissal in the defeat to Netherlands and hit out at Arjen Robben for playacting.

Arjen Robben, Felipe Melo
GettyImagesFelipe Melo believes Arjen Robben was too theatrical against Brazil

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Brazil looked to be cruising in Friday's quarter-final as they went into the break with a 1-0 lead, but Melo scored an own goal in the 53rd minute before Wesley Sneijder was given space to make it 2-1. A dismal 20 minutes was complete for Brazil when Melo stamped on Robben and was shown a straight red card.

Melo, though, believes his punishment may have been excessive, particularly as Portugal's Pepe was only booked for a tackle that ruled him out of the second round.

"It's different to be sent off for punching or spitting at someone than for a normal challenge," he said. "The challenge that Pepe made on me was much worse. This depends on the interpretation of the referee and I think he was too harsh. It's tough now to call home and hear your son crying.

"Robben kept playing up. If I meant to hurt him, he would have left the pitch. I have enough strength to break his leg. Every time he was touched he would jump and roll over on the floor. I just wanted to get the ball and start our counter-attack."

Melo insists he performed well overall at the tournament and is not worried by the criticism.

"It's the ugliest moment of my career. I am too sad, but football is like this," Melo said. "Unfortunately you can't always win at a World Cup and today we didn't manage it.

"Anyway, I've had a good World Cup and today I had a good first half with the assist for Robinho's goal. If we had won the World Cup, I would have given myself a 10 out of 10. We didn't do it, so I will content myself with a six."

He added: "I don't care at all about what the people think. I am not afraid of the criticism. Those who understand football know my strength. The others don't interest me."

Netherlands boss Bert van Marwijk feels claims Robben is in the wrong are completely unjustified.

"Brazil should be ashamed," he said. "It was the other way round. Brazil tried to provoke us more than we provoked them. I just saw the TV footage of the foul on Robben. I think you should be ashamed for Brazilian football.

"Instead of saying he was sorry or that he didn't mean to hurt him, Melo tried to defend his actions."

Brazil legend Ronaldo suggested on his Twitter account that Melo is not a popular figure in his homeland. "Felipe Melo should avoid coming to Brazil for his vacation," he wrote.