Sweden claimed a World Cup playoff spot despite losing 2-0 on Tuesday away to a Netherlands side inspired by Arjen Robben who finished his international career with both goals as the Dutch bowed out.The Netherlands needed to win by a seven-goal margin to reach the playoffs but finished level on 19 points, behind Group A winners France, with the Swedes second on goal difference.The home side started brightly in the Amsterdam Arena with a fired-up Robben converting a 16th-minute penalty and then hammering home a superb left-footed shot five minutes before halftime to raise the faint hopes of the home fans.The Dutch, however, lacked the necessary creativity as Sweden shut up shop in the second half and the match fizzled out, leaving the Netherlands in third place.Sweden now enter a two-legged playoff next month against one of the other eight best second-placed European sides.Tuesday’s encounter proved to be the last international for Robben who, after 37 goals in 96 internationals, received a standing ovation as he limped through the final minutes.After the final whistle, the Swedish players went to their changing room to celebrate, leaving the stage free for Bayern Munich forward Robben to say farewell to the Dutch fans.”We knew we didn’t have a chance but it was an amazing game. It hasn’t been an easy decision but I am 33 and now must give my full focus to my club,” said Robben.Missing out on the World Cup caps a remarkable demise for the Netherlands, who were runners-up to Spain at the 2010 tournament in South Africa, and third in Brazil in 2014, with Robben again in the side, in a semi-final defeat by Argentina.advertisementThey have now missed out on a second major tournament after also failing in their bid to qualify for last year’s European Championship in France.The opening goal followed a handball by Swedish defender Victor Lindelof, although Robben miscued a cheeky chip from the penalty spot and was fortunate that goalkeeper Robin Olsen had already committed to dive.Robben’s second goal, however, was a sweeping finish after the ball was laid back to him in the Swedish area. It was to be his last in the famous ‘Oranje’ national team shirt.
Virat Kohli has been mocked by an Australian journalist after India captain’s on-field behaviour in the Perth Test came under sharp criticism. Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar slammed Kohli following his verbal spat with his Australian counterpart Tim Paine. However, Australian great Allan Border and West Indies legend Viv Richards have found nothing wrong with Kohli’s on-field behaviour.An Australian journalist has now mocked Virat Kohli in a Twitter post in which he has used a video. In the video, a batsman after being Mankaded vents out his anger by slamming his bat on the ground.In the caption, the Aussie journalist has written, “Here’s Virat showing everyone how to behave when things don’t go your way on the field.”Here’s Virat showing everyone how to behave when things don’t go your way on the field pic.twitter.com/w596J02n2VDennis Tareen (@DennisCricket_) 20 December 2018Kohli, who is currently the best batsman in the world, has been branded as a villain by the Australian media.Tensions flared up during the second Test in Perth when Kohli and Paine were involved in a verbal spat. Kohli and Paine had a bit of chat in the middle as both teams fought it out in the first session on Day 4 of the second Test in Perth on Monday.Kohli was visibly frustrated with the fifth-wicket partnership between Paine and Usman Khawaja and was in Paine’s ears throughout the first two hours of play.At one point in time during the 71st over, Paine took a single to come towards the non-striker’s end when Kohli came charging towards the Aussie skipper but stopped just in time.advertisementUmpire Chris Gaffney was not impressed with how the two were behaving in the middle and was heard saying something on the lines of “That’s enough, that’s enough. Come on, play the game. You guys are the captains,” on the stump microphone.It all started on Day 3 when Kohli was heard saying, “If he messes it up, it’s 2-0”. This was picked up by the microphone after he and his teammates made a loud caught-behind appeal for Paine in the final over of the day.The two were even seen and heard sledging each other on Sunday when Paine was batting in the final session.Paine too did not hold himself back and replied “You’ve got to bat first, big head”.”Virat Kohli is such a champion player that we kind of accept everything he does on the pitch. Had Virat Kohli not been the champion player he is, some of his antics on the field would have created quite a stir,” Manjrekar said at the lunch break show on SonyLIV. “You have to behave responsibly at times though. There are others ways to score runs. What I mean is brand Virat Kohli helps him get away with his on-field behaviour,” he added.Former Australia captain Michael Clarke too agreed with Manjrekar, saying, “I mean yes you can feel he’s doing a lot but that’s just part of him. You see the same aggression while he’s batting and I mean we all want him to keep scoring so you can’t just ask him to cut that aggression.”Gavaskar said the Indian team are no saints and he believed they were the ones who began the sledging war in Australia and now they had to be prepared to cop it. Ironically, Kohli had promised his men won’t start any verbal wars and would react only if the Australians played dirty.”Tim Paine is not in the Indian dressing room.. So how does he know Vijay does not like Kohli?,” Gavaskar told India Today.”These are the kind of things which are called gamesmanship. We have not been saints either. Way back in 2014, when Australia were down with the tragic death of Phillip Hughes, we started it. They were too shocked in the first Test and we started it,” he added.Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra, meanwhile, has taken a dig at the Australian cricket team and the Aussie media for making a villain out of Virat Kohli.”The Australian media is rallying behind their cricket team and, in fact, making India and Virat Kohli as the villains of world cricket. I am very, very surprised. It’s the classic case of pot calling the kettle black. Perhaps, it’s time for them to look inwards and just ask themselves the question, regards to how they have behaved in the past,” Chopra told India Today.