World Cup... stop the flop!

Monday, June 16, 2014

World Cup... stop the flop!

The ABC/ESPN televised FIFA World Cup matches have been interesting, often exciting and on occasion thrilling to watch, fútbol fan or not.

But one thing caught my attention over the weekend, that being the number of "flops" and drops like they've just been poleaxed, and Sunday afternoon's Group E match between France and Honduras displayed the perfect example.

With France on the attack at the 25:15 mark, there was a fiercely contested possession on the offensive right wing between France's Pogba and Honduras' Wilson Palacios.

The former hit the ground like he'd been head-shot with a .300 Winchester Magnum, while the latter writhed in mid-air before performing a half-gainer over his fallen opponent.

As teammates and officials attend the pair, both writhed and rolled around on the pitch, each clutching a part of their lower extremeties, hoping to sell their injuries and the ex­tent of the iniquities visited upon them by their foe.

(The Honduran bench even brought out a red litter for their man who, after being placed in it, wondrously a­rose to rejoin the match after a moment or two.)

Palacios had clearly stepped on his downed opponent several times, but Pogba from flat on his back had obviously leg-whipped and tripped his man... and both received Yellow Cards in return.

The entire duration of the little drama took up almost three minutes of running time which appeared as "extra time" at the end of the regulation 90 minutes.

Fourteen minutes later, rushing into the box to receive a well-placed pass from Yohan Cabaye, Pogba was bumped in the back by Palacios and, with facial embellishments, flew forward onto the pitch as if launched from the flight deck of the Charles de Gaulle.

A penalty kick was awarded, and Señor Palacious received a second Yellow Card and an automatic (Red Card) ejection from the match, which meant that Honduras would play a man short for the duration.

Karim Benzema converted the penalty shot and it was too uphill for the short-handed Honduras team from there.

The most famous faker in my recollection was Philadelphia Flyers left-wing Bill Barber, one of the notorious "Broad­street Bullies" of the early '70s. Barber was so adept at "diving," he could seemingly trip on the Red Line, fall on his face and the closest opponent would be sent off the ice two minutes for tripping.

The National Hockey League finally wised up and passed a rule against that sort of deceit.

Likewise, the National Basketball Association instituted an anti-Flopping rule, one which saw the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade get whistled and assessed a Technical Foul (and sub­sequently fined) just last week.

($5,000, however, is chump change to most of the NBA players!)

It's something to which the professional soccer/fútbol leagues should give more serious consideration... the all-too common sight of a player rolling around on the pitch clutching a knee or an ankle with an expression of agony, only to pop up and continue playing moments later, is disgusting.

It's supposed to be a game of skill and stamina... quit the theatrics!


1. David Powell said...

One reason I am glad that the USA beat Ghana is that in the last World Cup they delayed their game with Team USA at the end with repeated dives with no one in sight. Glad to see them eliminated this time.

Aye that!

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