Enough is enough. Forget the Fair Play motto, FIFA’s slogan for this year’s World Cup should be: May the best cheaters win!
We have been waiting since the opening whistle on June 12 for just a hint of Fair Play to materialize but instead the 2014 FIFA World Cup has evolved into a complete farce thanks to unchecked diving and simulation.
When quarter-final action opened on Friday it was again clear that match officials would turn a blind eye to unsportsmanlike conduct. Germany and Brazil were again rewarded for their cheating and will now face each other in what is sure to be an all-out Dive-fest semi-final on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.
Thus it’s no surprise that Costa Rica are gravely concerned that diving and unsportsmanlike play could indeed determine their fate on Saturday against the Netherlands.
Referees have failed to act on the antics of Dutch striker Arjen Robben and Costa Rica manager Jorge Luis Pinto says he hopes things will change when referee Rashvan Irmatov takes the field at Arena Fonte Nova.
“I would like to ask Fifa and the referees to watch Robben. We’re really worried about his diving. He has admitted doing it…Maybe he [Robben] would have to leave the field because he gets to yellow cards for diving.” ~ Costa Rica Manager Jorge Luis Pinto
Mexico manager Miguel Herrera blasted referee Pedro Proenca of Portugal for allowing Robben to get away with some less than convincing theatrics as the Dutch beat El Tri 2-1 in their June 29th Round of 16 match.
“[The referee should have gone] back and cautioned the guy that tried to cheat and then this would not happen again because we would be saying that if the ref is fair,” Herrera said. “Then their second goal wouldn’t exist and [Arjen] Robben would have been expelled or suspended with a second yellow card. But if you do nothing the first time then the player knows that the referee won’t kick you out, he won’t caution you, not say anything.”
Not to be outdone by Robben, Germany’s Miroslav Klose and Thomas Muller have been hitting the ground with the slightest of touches throughout the tournament and have also yet to be adequately punished for their actions.
In Friday’s first quarter-final, a 1-0 victory over France, Klose was at it again as he went to ground after the slightest of tugs on his jersey by Mathieu Debuchy in an attempt to draw a penalty kick from an unconvinced referee Nestor Pitana. Moments later it was Muller with the underhanded tactics on Debuchy in Les Bleus penalty area.
This behaviour continues to escalate because so far there has been no discipline by referees for diving It remains unclear whether Pitana and the rest of his peers have been specifically instructed by FIFA not to punish these types of infractions.
Sometimes karma has a way of sorting things out on the football pitch when referees can’t or won’t apply the laws.
Neymar of Brazil has clearly been one of the worst offenders at the World Cup, with his dives so frequent that many officials are unablel to distinguish the fake fouls from the few genuine ones. On Friday Neymar unwittingly became a tragic example of the Boy Who Cried Wolf.
Brazil’s star player suffered a fractured vertebra in the 88th minute of a 2-1 quarter-final victory over Colombia as this time the striker was the victim of a real foul, taking a knee in the back from opponent Juan Zuniga. Neymar was stretchered off the field and rushed to hospital.
FIFA announced on Saturday it has opened an investigation into the incident.
But you can’t entirely blame Carballo and his crew for not punishing Zuniga since everyone knows Neymar has spent too much of this year’s World Cup rolling around on the ground for non-fouls.
Throughout Friday’s match, Carballo failed to act on rampant diving by both teams as the perpetrators went unpunished and in most cases were instead rewarded with free kicks.
Seeing there wouldn’t be any punishment for such antics, goalkeeper Julio Cesar of Brazil took the cheating to the next level late in the second half. Cesar was lucky to escape a red card on not one but two counts. Firstly for his reckless challenge on Carlos Bacca which set up a successful penalty kick for Colombia and secondly because the netminder clearly pretended to be injured on the play, in an obvious attempt to avoid his dismissal from the match.
Negligence by referees to apply the laws of the game mean Colombia and France are just the latest to join a growing list of teams to be railroaded.
Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura was the first to reward blatant trickery when he awarded Fred of Brazil a dubious penalty kick in their 1-0 win over Croatia which served as the curtain-raiser in this unconvincing off-Broadway production.
Ivory Coast and Manchester City midfielder YaYa Toure was so sickened by the trend that he sounded off against Carlos Vera of Ecuador for the referee’s now infamous decision to award Georgios Samaras of Greece a match-deciding penalty kick in the final Group Stage match for both teams on June 24. Television replays clearly show the striker clearly tripped over his own feet on the final play of the game and grossly exaggerated a push by defender Giovani Sio.
“I desperately wanted the referee to spot the simulation of Samaras. Once again the refereeing was not on our side…And this time it was invented against Greece. Of course, it does not upset anyone because it only concerns an African team….It is a scandal that unfortunately does not seem to bother that many people.” ~ Ivory Coast striker YaYa Toure
We are still waiting, hoping and preying to the football gods that one of the 25 officials at this year’s tournament will finally act and stop rewarding teams for cheating.
CAST YOUR 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