Anyone who has watched an international soccer match knows that players often drop to the ground in seeming paroxysms of pain — with or without an actual injury. A light brush of the hand might cause a wiley star to drop and roll around on the turf "as if he had been doused with pepper spray." The reason? To trick the referee and win a penalty or free kick. Though some fans defend "diving," as it is known, as a form of gamesmanship, many commentators have been troubled and disgusted by the antics at this World Cup. Here are the six notable cases:
1. Abdul Kader Keita (Ivory Coast)
Match: Ivory Coast vs. Brazil
Just as Brazil's 3-1 defeat of the African team looked to be drawing to a close, things took a "ridiculous" turn, says Matt Cherette at Gawker TV. Ivory Coast's Keita ran into Brazilian striker Kaka's elbow and fell to the ground "as if he'd just been punched by Mike Tyson." The referee promptly awarded Kaka a second yellow card, leaving Brazil a man down for the closing minutes of the contest and forcing Kaka to miss a subsequent match against Portugal. "As Arnold Schwarzenegger would say, Keita is a feika."
2. Fabio Quagliarella (Italy)
Match: Italy vs. Slovakia
The Italian team are notorious for their histrionic dives, and Quagliarella's against Slovakia's goalkeeper Jan Mucha was a "telling moment," says Michael Klinski at the Argus Leader. During a late "tussle," Mucha "brushed Quagliarella's face." The Italian "acted as if his eye had just been gouged out," writhing on the ground and screaming in pain.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Match: Portugal vs. Ivory Coast
The "pretty boy" Portuguese striker is "like a Jenga tower," says Alan Siegel at Slate. "If you even think of nudging him, he'll topple over." This dive, from Portugal's game against Ivory Coast, is a classic example. The opposing player "didn't even appear to touch Ronaldo," but received a yellow card anyway.
4. Arturo Vidal (Chile)
Match: Chile vs. Switzerland
This case of fakery was "almost as embarrassing as Keita's," says Steven Sandor at Canoe.ca. After minimal contact from Swiss midfielder Valon Behrami, Vidal hit the turf acting "as if he'd been kicked in the cojones." Behrami was ejected from the game and Switzerland was left playing man-down. They ultimately lost 1-0 to Chile and didn't make the second round of the tournament. Simply put, Vidal's antics "ruined the game."
5. Daniele de Rossi (Italy)
Match: Italy vs. Paraguay
It was this "year's worst dive," says A. Isaac at Guyism. "And surprise, surprise, it came from the Italians." Daniele de Rossi here pretends to have been tackled away from the ball, even though no Paraguayan player even touched him. "Congrats, Mr. De Rossi" — this move gives you a spot on the list of "great soccer divers of all time."
6. Fernando Torres (Spain)
Match: Spain vs. Chile
This "amazing dive" from Spain's Fernando Torres saw Chile's Marco Estrada sent off with a second yellow card. But Estrada was nowhere near him. Torres does seem to be pushed by someone, says Angela Asante at Bleacher Report. But who is the "invisible man"?