We have been waiting so long that we thought this moment might never come.
In the penultimate match of the 2014 World Cup, Oscar of Brazil became the first player at this year’s tournament to be booked for diving.
In case you weren’t aware, we have been waiting for 63 matches and well over 130 hours of football for World Cup referees to finally clamp down on the now rampant simulation.
Finally in Saturday’s third place match, Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi flashed a yellow card to Oscar after his less-than-convincing fall to ground after a foul by opponent Daley Blind of the Netherlands.
At last justice!
But really a case of hollow justice as the punishment comes too little, and much too late.
It was a little surprising to see Oscar go down as the man who was awarded the first yellow card for simulation since there have been so many other more deserving candidates.
It was Oscar’s own teammate Fred who set the tone for how things would go at this year’s tournament.
Of course it was Fred who took his now infamous and less-than-convincing tumble during the second half of the tournament curtain-raiser against Croatia.
Instead of awarding Fred a yellow card for the bad acting job, referee Yuichi Nishimura awarded a game-deciding penalty kick to Brazil.
From Match Day 1 to Match Day 23 World Cup fans had been waiting in vein for punishment to be melded out for diving and the beautiful game has suffered a black eye in the process.
In the buildup to championship weekend FIFA vice president Jim Boyce admitted he had seen enough of it all. Boyce told the BBC it was time to clamp down on the divers, saying referees should eject players from the match if it is determined they are trying to change the outcome of the game with such acts of unsportsmanlike conduct.
“I think cheating needs to be eradicated from the game. If it is absolutely no question whatsoever that it is a dive, I think perhaps FIFA have to look at whether that should be a red-card offence.” ~ FIFA Vice President Jim Boyce.
While not linking his comments to the theatrics of Arjen Robben of the Netherlands or Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose of Germany, the three have been some of the worst offenders at this year’s tournament.
Robben was busy flying through the air in Saturday’s match with some less than convincing antics which culminated in his 77th minute tumble after the slightest of nudges from opponent Willian. Robben and referee Pedro Proenca of Portugal were blasted by Mexico manager Miguel Herrera after his team`s 2-1 loss to Holland in their Round of 16 match on June 29th.
Herrera had no doubt in his mind Robben`s theatrics had greatly altered the outcome of the match. Costa Rica coach even pleaded with the officials to apply the laws correctly and punish Robben if his behavior continued in their team`s quarter-final against the Dutch, but the diving continued.
But the cheating can also backfire as Brazil’s Neymar found out in his team’s quarter-final match against Colombia. Neymar suffered a dislocated vertebrae after a ruthless challenge from opponent Juan Zuniga. Neymar’s falls to ground had become so frequent they had clearly confused the referee, so much that he failed to spot Zuniga’s offence.
Robben should have learned from Neymar’s lesson but didn’t and was lucky not to suffer the same fate of hospitalization during his teamn‘s 3-0 win over Brazil in Saturday‘s consolation match.
Early in the second half, Robben was the victim of a ruthless karate-style takedown by Hernanes that went unpunished. He clearly could have suffered a serious injury as a result of the challenge but the referee’s patience with Robben’s antics had long since worn thin.
It is unclear whether Muller and Klose of Germany will see the light ahead of Sunday’s final against Argentina.
Hopefully for the good of the game Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli will do the right thing and send Muller off for diving but we won’t be holding our breath.
PLEASE DON`T FORGE TO VOTE IN OUR POLL FOR WORST REFEREE AT THE 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP!
Who is the worst referee at the FIFA 2014 World Cup?
- Enrique Osses, Chile (0%, 62 Votes)
- Nawaf Shukralla, Bahrain (0%, 66 Votes)
- Mark Geiger, United States (0%, 88 Votes)
- Noumandiez Desire Doue, Ivory Coast (0%, 88 Votes)
- Jonas Eriksson, Sweden (0%, 91 Votes)
- Joel Aguilar, El Salvador (0%, 95 Votes)
- Bakary Papa Gassama, Gambia (0%, 127 Votes)
- Meira Sandro Ricci, Brazil (0%, 134 Votes)
- Carlos Vera, Ecuador (0%, 140 Votes)
- Felix Brych, Germany (0%, 146 Votes)
- Bjorn Kuipers, Netherlands (0%, 146 Votes)
- Cuneyt Cakir, Turkey (0%, 147 Votes)
- Nestor Pitana, Argentina (0%, 152 Votes)
- Ravshan Irmatov, Uzbeckistan (0%, 155 Votes)
- Ben Williams, Australia (0%, 169 Votes)
- Nicola Rizzoli, Italy (0%, 266 Votes)
- Howard Webb, England (0%, 276 Votes)
- Djamel Haimoudi, Ivory Coast (0%, 301 Votes)
- Wilmar Roldan, Colombia (0%, 411 Votes)
- Marco Antonio Rodriguez, Mexico (0%, 491 Votes)
- Pedro Proenca, Portugal (1%, 624 Votes)
- Carlos Velasco Carballo, Spain (1%, 686 Votes)
- Yuichi Nishimura, Japan (2%, 2,067 Votes)
- Peter O'Leary, New Zealand (15%, 16,075 Votes)
- Milorad Mazic, Serbia (79%, 87,362 Votes)
Total Voters: 110,365