The Netherlands will not be going to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with the squad’s fate being sealed on Tuesday despite a 2-0 win over Sweden. And Arjen Robben will no longer wear the orange his country sports, announcing his retirement from international competition after the game.
“I want to focus on my club [career] now,” Robben said to the media after the Dutch victory Tuesday. “It’s a good time to pass the torch to the next generation.”
The 33-year-old winger scored both goals for his side in his final Netherlands game. However, the Dutch needed to win by an essentially untenable seven goals in order to make up for previous missteps in their qualifying effort. This will be the first World Cup without the Netherlands since 2002.
He will continue to play professionally with Bayern Munich, which is involved in Champions League play currently. However, for many, the prolific scorer will be most identified with his time in orange.
Robben played in three World Cups for the Netherlands — 2006, 2010 and 2014 — and is tied for most international goals in his country’s history. He scored 37 to finish his Netherlands career tied with Dennis Bergkamp in that department. Robben’s 96 caps are the ninth-most by a Dutchman.
The Netherlands didn’t qualify for the ’02 World Cup, and Robben’s career spanned the 14 years since. He led the nation to a second-place finish in the ’10 World Cup in South Africa and a third-place result in Brazil three years ago. The Netherlands did not qualify for the Euro 2016 tournament, and this retirement coupled with the result leaves the nation’s team at a crossroads of sorts.