Posts Tagged ‘diving’

Hooray for the USA women’s soccer team: winning with grace and losing with grace

July 18, 2011

The USA women’s soccer lost to Japan in the World Cup final on penalty kicks, but what a show they put on! It really seemed like watching a game, complete with sportsmanship and good feelings all around. No diving, no faking injuries, lots of smiles, and a helping hand whenever an opposing player was knocked down.

They played with incredible energy, outplayed the Japanese except when it came to the important area of getting the ball into the net, and were as gracious in losing as they had been earlier in winning. Megan Rapinoe’s speed and passing, Hope Solo’s goal-keeping, and Alex Morgan’s shooting, bode well for next year’s Olympics.

We hated to lose on a penalty shootout, but we were glad enough to get by Brazil on PKs, so maybe we shouldn’t complain. And if the USA team had to lose, who better to lose to than Japan. See you next year in London.

Brazilian women cheated and paid the price against the US in World Cup quarter finals

July 13, 2011

It’s nice to see cheaters caught and punished, and especially rewarding when their cheating costs them a victory that was almost in the bag.

In the Women’s World Cup (soccer) quarter-finals Brazil led the US 2-1 with time running out. Brazilian defender Erika (Brazilian players don’t use their last names, presumably because they’re so famous: think Kobe. Wilt, Magic, Manny, etc) faked injury and fell to the ground, writhing and moaning. The delay would rob the Americans of the slim chance they had to tie the game.

Erika was carried off the field strapped to a stretcher, then, once off the field, rolled off the stretcher and raced back into play. (Video here) Not so fast: the referee gave her a yellow card and put three extra minutes back on the clock. The US scored in the extra time, and won on tie-breaker penalty kicks.

The referee got it right this time. Unfortunately the referees don’t get it right every time, and soccer has no instant replay. As a result games often turn on “diving”—falling to the ground to make the ref think you’ve been fouled. Soccer should take the simple step needed to disincentivize diving: (more…)

World Cup: How to stop the kind of cheating that got undeserving Netherlands to the final

July 9, 2010

Here we go again. A World Cup elimination game decided by an illegal play. But this one is of a different character than when Uruguay striker Luis Suarez used his hands to slap away a sure game-winning goal by Ghana. Suarez’s action was forthright, against the rules, duly penalized, but smart. Bad for the game, but not something one could brand as unethical. I proposed a rule change that would eliminate such plays.

But when Netherlands star Arjen Robben fell to the ground, writhing in pretended pain from pretended contact from the Brazilian defender (diving, in world footballspeak), he cheapened the game. The referee was fooled by Robben’s deception into awarding Holland a free kick, which was converted into the deciding goal in a 2- 1 win that ended Brazil’s hopes of another championship.

Robben cheated, and it got his team into the semi-finals against Uruguay, who they beat, 3-2. Now only Spain stands between the Dutch and the championship. It’ll be sad for the game if the Dutch win, their trophy forever tarnished by the way they won it.

There are three ways to reduce the incentive for players to dive: (more…)