You have likely seen a football match where someone has gone down so easy.
Maybe under no contact whatsoever.
So because of this, you are thinking, why do footballers dive so much?
After all, it only makes them look silly, and for many people, they class it as cheating.
The thing is, though, it’s something in the football game that not only has been around for years but an act that only footballers tend to understand.
Therefore today, I am going to shed light on diving in the modern game.
I will explain why it happens and go through some of my experiences with this highly controversial action.
Why Do Footballers Dive So Much?
Footballers will do what is called ‘‘diving’ in order to get certain decisions in their favor.
It is done to get in both the refs and the oppositions players heads.
Now from my experience from playing and watching football, a player will dive for either of these three reasons:
- To get an opponent booked/sent off – This may sound really petty, diving for the sake of getting another player cautioned. However, when it works, it can result in someone being banned for a future fixture or even being removed from that game by a red card.
- To gain a penalty – If a player is in the opponent’s penalty box, they may try to buy a penalty by diving. This is done by either keeping their leg extended or going into a player on purpose. This used to be really effective as referees would buy into them, however with the introduction of VAR at the top level, players don’t dive as often.
- To waste time – This one frustrates opponents, and this is when players dive in the final minutes of a game to kill time on the clock. Players will either throw themselves onto the floor or go down under the slightest touch and then roll around until the medical team come on to treat them.
Why Would A Player Go Down Easy?
Now I do think there is a big difference between going down easy and straight-up diving.
Diving is an act where you are deliberately trying to cheat a ref into giving your team a decision in your favour.
Going down to the floor easily when contact has been made is to make it clear that you have been fouled.
A footballer isn’t rewarded for being honest and staying on their feet.
So if they have been fouled, even if it’s just a small tug, then the player will go down.
There isn’t much reason for them to stay on their feet, especially if they are in a good position.
The perfect example would be if a player were having his shirt tugged in the penalty box.
If he tried to stay on his feet, the referee wouldn’t feel the need to make a decision and will let the game continue.
If the player then gets a shot off, that was put off because of the challenge, which he then misses.
Then he would have been better off just going down, even if the contact was only small.
So that is why if someone is fouled most of the time, it’s just best to hit the deck and take either the free kick or penalty if in the box.
Which Soccer Players Dive So Much?
When it comes to football boots that dive often, most players will do so at some point in their career.
Some will do it only to regret it and not do it again.
While others will do it almost every time, they are tackled or even touched to get that advantage.
Those that are notoriously known for diving are those from North/South America.
It is also common among Italian and Spanish players.
Now the reason for this is actually interesting and is not what you would initially think to be the case.
If you see a footballer going down clutching his face, you might think he is just cheating.
However, what has been part of the culture, especially in those areas highlighted above.
Is that if someone does something like going down holding his face as if he has been hit.
That results in the opposition player getting sent off. Then it’s regarded as being a clever play.
Now while this is, of course, frowned upon and frustrates many football fans, especially those in countries where it never been a part of the game.
I have seen several games where I have rooted for a certain team.
But because of tactics like getting players sent off and buying penalties.
They have resulted in losses for the team I was supporting.
In those cases, while it is painful to watch as a football fan, you have to almost admire how smart the other team were to win the game.
‘Playacting’ Killing Footballers Reputations
A footballers ability can often be overshadowed because of how much he dives.
I have often had this discussion with other people, where you talk about a footballer who has so much skill and is technically gifted.
However, because people see the player mostly on the floor rolling around, they won’t rate them as high as other players.
A good example of a player who dives a lot is Neymar Jr.
He is a very skilful player, and therefore defenders naturally want to take the ball off him.
However, he will always do a few rolls under the slightest touch or go down, clutching his face.
Now he is a player who is definitely in the top bracket of best players in the world.
But because of the way he acts, he is labelled as a bit of a cheater, and therefore a lot of people get frustrated with the way he behaves.
Is Diving A Foul?
Up until a few years ago, diving was something players could do without getting punished.
However, referees now punish players who attempt to fool them by booking them along with a free-kick for the other team.
So, as a result, nowadays, you will rarely see footballers dive without contact.
As they know, not only are their consequences, but with VAR, it means that every decision is looked at through replays.
Therefore it makes no sense for a player to deliberately dive in the penalty area, as the referees operating VAR will see it and advise if the penalty was given for it to be overturned along with a caution.
So there you have it. I hope this post has done a good job of explaining why footballers dive so much.
Nearly all the time, it is done to outsmart teams, of which, in some cases, it does pay off.
If you have any questions on diving or football in general, make sure to leave your comments down below 🙂