Over the years, soccer has gone through a lot of changes and trends. One of the most obnoxious trends was diving. Diving is something a player does to earn a foul illegally. It was prevalent in soccer for a good long phase before Video Assistant Referee (VAR) was introduced.
Many players from the top leagues were found diving. Raheem Sterling, Arjen Robben, and Neymar are just some of the players who have been accused of ‘going down easily’. Neymar, as a matter of fact, received the latest booking for a dive.
🚨🚨 NEYMAR JR WAS SENT OFF IN HIS FIRST GAME BACK FROM THE WORLD CUP. 😳🟥
NEYMAR RECEIVED 2ND YELLOW FOR DIVING & WAS SENT OFF FOR THAT. 😳😳🟥
This isn’t First Time that Neymar has been shown a RED as a PSG player. 🙃 pic.twitter.com/6gzetTs0dh
— Troll Football (@UKTrollFootball) December 29, 2022
It became so prevalent and problematic at a point that FIFA and UEFA started to punish players with bans for diving.
What is diving in soccer?
In soccer, when a player attempts to gain an unfair advantage by giving the impression that he has been fouled is called a dive. The player usually falls on the ground and fakes an injury to give that impression. In many cases, it involves falling dramatically, rolling on the ground, and screaming.
Diving, also called simulation, is often used to exaggerate the contact made during a tackle. Referees have a hard time figuring out in real time if it was actually a dive. However, with VAR’s support, it has become easier for referees to watch the replay and make their decision.
Here are some of the worst dives made by professional soccer players.
Neymar had a disappointing campaign at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Not just because of the results. But also because of a bizarre statistic which states that he was on the floor – apparently injured – for 14 minutes during the World Cup campaign.
There were two incidents during the World Cup where Neymar seemed to have exaggerated the contact.
He is seen rolling on the ground uncontrollably for a contact that does not look like much. It does seem like a foul, a tackle off the ball. However, one of the motivations for diving is to make the challenge look so bad that the referee decides to book the opposition.
Here, against Mexico, Neymar is seen being stepped on, however, it seems very soft. His antics after the action look exaggerated.
Sterling has made a name for himself in the diving department. He has been accused of diving on multiple occasions including against Denmark in the UEFA Euro 2020 semi-finals.
In this footage, Sterling is playing for Chelsea against Everton at the start of the 2022/23 Premier League season. He falls without any contact and earns Chelsea a free kick. This actually turned into a goal after Chelsea earned a penalty through the play from the free-kick.
Robben is one of the oldest players in the diving game. A great soccer player with a lethal left foot, it was surprising how often Robben dived. There were two occasions in a match against Mexico when Robben appeared to dive.
Here, he is seen being contacted but he keeps going and tries to fall into the penalty box so to earn a penalty instead of a foul.
Here, he does earn himself a penalty. Many would say there is contact so it is a foul. However, the nature of his fall, the exaggeration is the dive.
Brazil’s 2002 World Cup performance will be remembered for many reasons. But a video from that World Cup that keeps cropping up is this one that involves Rivaldo.
Rivaldo is clearly hurt on the lower body by a ball that is not even that strongly hit but holds his face. This is not a dive in its traditional sense but it is something you would call simulation. He tries to misguide the referee in order to waste time and put the opposition into bigger trouble.
What gets the former Chelsea man David Luiz on the list is his dive and also his actions afterward.
Luiz is seen exaggerating the contact by Manchester United’s Rafael and falls to the ground. But after falling to the ground, Luiz was spotted smiling at the crowd. A clear indication that he was exaggerating the foul.