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Worst Soccer Dives and Flops in World Cup History

Worst Soccer Dives and Flops in World Cup History

They call soccer “The Beautiful Game,” but an unattractive wart that it has been unable to remove has been players flopping like so many rare fish, to encourage cards or whistles on the tackling player.

Even the grand stage of the World Cup, where literally the entire world is watching, has not deterred some players from trying to deceive officials. There have been some egregious flops in the tournament’s illustrious history, and we’ve listed the worst ten below.

Read on for the floppiest list in our site’s history, and grab some free cash while you’re at it with our four-question, $500 World Cup prediction contest.

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10 Worst World Cup Flops

1. Rivaldo (2002)

Rivaldo helped inspire Brazil to its last World Cup triumph back in 2002, but the talented Brazilian’s most unforgettable moment in the tournament was the sight of him wallowing on the ground after getting a ball kicked back at him by a Turkish player during their semifinal match.

As anyone who has ever been hit by a ball in the thigh can no doubt attest, it’s a perfectly natural reaction to crumple to the ground clutching your face in agony. Hakan Unsal probably deserved a straight red regardless of the Brazilians theatrics, but it was still a shameless display from the eventual champion.

2. Jurgen Klinsmann (1990)

The USA is a country that has long derided flopping in any sport, soccer especially. They certainly wouldn’t have appreciated the actions of their current national team manager, Jurgen Klinsmann, who served up a classic dive in Italia ’90.

What makes this flop so special is the magnitude of the stage: West Germany vs. Argentina in the World Cup Final. His “tackler”, Pedro Monzon, was given a straight red card for that “challenge” as the Germans eventually prevailed on penalties. It’s not a stretch to say that Klinsmann’s dive defined the outcome of a World Cup.

3. Diego Simeone (1998)

The much-adored David Beckham became Public Enemy No. 1 in England back in the late 90’s after getting sent off for what could only be described as a “tap” on Diego Simeone’s calf during England’s 1998 Round of 16 clash with Argentina.

Even someone as revered for his outstanding kicking ability as Beckham couldn’t have produced enough force from a prone position to send Simeone stumbling to his butt. But the Argentinian fell as theatrically as possible with that slightest bit of contact, which contributed to Beckham’s undeserved dismissal.

4. Michael Owen (1998)

Perhaps Beckham’s unjust sending off was just karma for Michael Owen’s blatant dive early in the game to earn England a penalty. Owen tumbled to the ground despite Argentina defender Roberto Ayala barely grazing the diminutive forward. Alan Shearer converted the penalty but England still lost out eventually in a penalty shootout.

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5. Fabio Grosso (2006)

Italian defender Fabio Grosso will live long in the memory of soccer fans after slotting home the winning penalty against France in the 2006 final shootout. Grosso also did his part to get his team to that final by winning an extremely dubious penalty against Australia in the group stage.

The score was tied at 0-0 deep into extra time when the leftback dribbled his way into the penalty area. As he attempted to cut back toward goal, he fell over Australia defender Lucas Neill to earn a very soft penalty, which Francesco Totti scored. And the rest, as they say, was history.

6. Daniele De Rossi (2010)

Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi has a long and checkered track record of less-than-desirable behavior, which includes elbowing American striker Brian McBride in the nose in the 2006 World Cup. De Rossi list of offenses also includes flopping, with his most memorable plunge coming in the 2010 World Cup against Paraguay.

Despite video evidence clearly showing no one touched him, De Rossi reacted as if he were struck in the leg with a two-by-four, which should have been his punishment for that blatant dive.

7. Italy vs. France (2006)

The 2006 final between Italy and France was memorable for Zinedine Zidane’s epic headbutt on Marco Materazzi, but before that indelible moment, the Italians and French had themselves a flop-fest of a final.

As the video montage shows, both side partook in some pretty egregious playacting (including France’s opening goal via a Florent Malouda-won penalty) throughout the match. It was a shame that one team needed to win after such despicable displays of simulation.

8. Luis Suarez (2014)

Just to keep things current, this one comes from mere months ago, as Uruguay worked to lock up a spot in World Cup qualifying against tournament favorites Argentina. One of the most discussed players in the 2014 field, Uruguay/Liverpool’s superstar Luis Suarez appears to be hit by some force of energy or wind that crumples him in the box as he jockeys for an incoming cross.

Suarez’s health may be in question coming into Brazil 2014, but his acting abilities are not.

9. Cristiano Ronaldo (2006)

Cristiano Ronaldo is as close to a perfect footballer as we’ve ever seen. He’s quick, he’s strong, he can score lots of goals, and he has dated some of the hottest women on the planet. However, he does have one glaring flaw as a player: he flops.

Watch as a then-21 year old Ronaldo goes airborne after absolutely no contact from a German defender whatsoever. With the beauty of slow motion, we can see Ronaldo seek out the referee’s whistle before he had even touched the ground. Eight years have gone by since that World Cup in 2006, and not much has changed.

10. Fernando Torres (2010)

Spain won the 2010 World Cup without needing a single goal from Fernando Torres. But credit the striker for seeking other ways to contribute to the team, such as trying to win free kicks from complete and utter flops.

As if he were shot from the back by a sniper, El Nino intentionally strikes his own left calf with his right foot to simulate his incredibly unnatural fall, which is admittedly quite clever. If only he had spent that much thought into scoring goals.

Which dive did you enjoy most? Get at us on Facebook or Twitter to let us know, and follow Top Bet all the way to the World Cup Finals on July 13, 2014 as we continue keep things interesting on and off the field.

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Written by Brad

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