Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The World Rankings of Flopping

Brazil's forward Neymar reacts in pain following a tackle by Cameroon's midfielder Joel Matip. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
By Geoff Fosterm,WSJ
June 24, 2014 9:36 p.m. ET

One of the most common complaints during this otherwise splendid World Cup is the amount of time players spend embellishing injuries.

All too often during matches, seemingly fit men fall to the ground in agony. They scream, wince, pound the grass with their fists and gesture to the sidelines for a stretcher. Some of them clutch a limb as if it was just freed from the jaws of a wood chipper.

But after a few moments, just as the priests arrive to administer last rites, they sit up on the gurney, shake it off, rise to their feet and run back on the field to play some more.

Fans of the world's most popular game know that this is just one of soccer's oldest and most universally despised tactics. Turning a small foul into a death performance worthy of La Scala can draw cards for opposing players, kill time from the clock or just give one's winded teammates a breather. What's interesting about the World Cup is that not all national teams are the same. Some embellish all the time, some hardly at all.

(More here.)

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