Along with goal-line technology and racism, diving – or “simulation” as the rules of the game would rather less colourfully have us call it – has yet again been one of the biggest buzzwords of this past season. It seems that regardless of how much money you plough into a football team, the one thing you cannot guarantee is honour, and players who come in to top-level teams with £20 million plus price-tags are often more likely simulate than those towards the bottom of the league.
The simple fact is that the element of human error that exists as part and parcel of the way the game is refeered determines that unfortunately the crime of simulation does pay. There are very few instances of retrospective punishment, and if a dive leads to a penalty, and that penalty to a goal, the spoils vastly outweigh the punishment. The debate over nature versus nurture rages on, as coaches ponder whether skills can be taught, but it seems that opportunism is almost certainly being encouraged at some level for even the most skilled of players.
Quite frankly too many players spend their time on the grass, rolling around like they’ve been hit by a tank, and sometimes it’s just plain ridiculous. And the longer the FA allows it to continue, the more embarrassing a blemish on the game’s reputation.
For anyone who didn’t know, this is the sort of reaction that real contact should elicit… So, now to the infamous fakers, play-actors and downright dirty cheats who dived their way into every respectable fan’s bad books
13. Bryan Carrasco
One thing some of the more notorious divers on this list never seemed to realise was that contact is a fairly important ingredient in the most convincing of dives. Riding, or making the most of a challenge is certainly the easiest way to con a referee into punishing the opponent for a foul, so waiting until the opportune moment to fall, regardless of picking up a few bruises yourself is often the best gamble to take (just ask Alan Shearer).
Bryan Carrasca clearly had this in his mind during his country’s match against Ecuador in last year’s U20 South American Championship, as the Chilean defender took it in his own hands – as well as those of Edson Montano – to win a free-kick, and hopefully get his opponent sent off. Trouble is, he didn’t really think it through, and this is what actually happened…