Monday, November 29, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
On the eve of an important soccer event in my own life, to soccer we turn again. Right now I can't resist but make an argument I've already made, only more emphatically and with renewed conviction: that diving in soccer is largely a product of the inadequate advantage rule.
I probably should have talked more about this during the World Cup, because diving seems to be Americans' preferred reason for disliking the beautiful game and dismissing out of hand. I could hardly read anything last summer about soccer in the US without coming across some disdainful comment about how diving makes soccer un-watchable. And that now infamous challenge by Carles Puyol on Arjen Robben in the final would have been a perfect way to explain the real deal with diving.
In addition the issue comes come up so often in my own playing, with my being consistently the most fouled player on the field, and what can I say... it makes me extremely angry.
So first, let's think about that Arjen Robben play again. Robben is through on goal in the second half of the World Cup Final, and feels contact, which he knows is illegal, from Carles Puyol. Because he knows the current advantage rule is in force, he knows he has two choices: go down, take the foul, earn Puyol a probable red card and himself a free kick well outside the area, or go on and try to score. To Robben's credit, he chose the latter course, figuring his chances of scoring were still rather high, despite having been fouled by Puyol. Unfortunately for him (but thank God for soccer) he failed to score. It was probably the only moment in which I sympathized for him in the entire game.