Did Robben pick the right time to get injured?

Did Robben pick the right time to get injured?

Published Jun. 7, 2010 10:37 p.m. ET

Two years ago at the European Championships in Austria and Switzerland, the Dutch were the "in form" team after tearing through the supposed "Group of Death" that included World Cup Finalists Italy and France.

All indications were that Russia would be a mere stepping stone before Marco Van Basten's would take on Spain in what would have been the match of the tournament. Unfortunately for the Holland, its star winger Arjen Robben, then at Real Madrid, was ruled out of the match, and Russia knocked the Oranje out of the Championships.

Two years later and not much has changed for Robben. On this day, the former PSV and Chelsea star is one of the top five players in the world, but his career has been plagued by injuries.

His health has been an area of concern for both club and country, and after injuring himself trying to perform a back heel in the dying minutes of the Netherlands' 6-1 thrashing of Hungary, in which Robben netted twice, the whole of the country seemed to be consumed by the outcome of the scan that would determine his fate.


All indications out of the Dutch camp is that Robben's injury is not as serious as originally thought, and the speedster should travel to South Africa to meet up with his teammates.

He is however likely to miss out on the group stage, but with a relatively straight forward group and a plethora of wingers to take his place such as Ibrahim Afellay and Eljero Elia, there is a feeling that Robben's injury could have occured at the right time.

If Robben can make a full recovery, he should be ready to go for the knock out rounds, and most importantly a potential quarter final clash with Brazil.

Given the player's history there would have been a significant probability of Robben picking up an injury in one of the group matches leaving him in doubt for the critical games down the line, just as what happened at Euro 2008.

If Robben can make a full recovery, is this a blessing in disguise for Bert Van Marwijk's men?

Obviously one always wants to have his best players at his disposal, but if Robben is ready for a Round of 16 engagement it very well could be worth it.

Until Robben returns, Holland has more than enough attacking wealth to overcome the set back and should have little problem getting past group opponents Cameroon, Denmark, and Japan.

Jack Tilghman is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, the open source sports network.