Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fake Injuries in European Soccer

For the past few weeks, I've spent some of my afternoon watching the European Football tournament. That's soccer to us Americans. Teams from various countries play for the championship. This week the competition was down to Spain versus Portugal and Italy versus Germany.
My friends know that I love sports and I'm pretty competitive, so I revel in a good sports tournament, especially when country honor is at stake.
Watching European soccer has been an eye opener. I generally root for the underdog.
Here's a photo from Zimbio
As I watch, I am astonished by the number of players who fake injuries and lie on the field, rolled into a ball, even as play continues around them. Now, I've seen my fair share of NBA (basketball) stars take flops when guarding the basket, but to stay on the ground when they aren't actually hurt is unthinkable. Don't they know their team needs them?
The replays generally show that the player either was not touched or received only a glancing blow. The players are hoping that the referee will take pity and give the other play a yellow card, which is a warning. This is a sport that could really use an instant replay clause. That would get those guys to stop faking injuries.
While watching players from Greece, the Czech Republic, Ireland, England, France, Denmark, The Netherlands, along with the countries still in the tournament, I have come up with a theory. The farther south the country, the closer to the Mediterranean, the more likely the players were to flop on the field and feign an injury. I hate to speak ill of the players from these countries I love, but I think they have a knack for melodrama.
Some of them will lie on the field so long that the team brings out a stretcher and four strong guys to carry the hurt player off the field. This reminds me of the scene from Florence in  A Room With A View where the Italians get in a fight and one of the guys is killed by a knife. The other men in the piazza pick up the dead guy and carry him to the nearest fountain to wash him off. They carry him just like the guys from the soccer field.
Here's a picture of Ronaldo, not on the soccer field,
 but in an ad for Armani, I think.
This photo is from this website.
 In soccer though, inevitably, the hurt guy hops off the stretcher on the sidelines and goes back in the game within minutes. Why? Because he wasn't really hurt.
The biggest offender I saw in the faking injury field was Ronaldo who plays for Portugal when he isn't being paid a lot of money to play for Real Madrid or one of those teams. Ronaldo fell to the soccer field whenever another player breezed by him. And because Ronaldo is famous, the player on the other team often got a yellow card and a warning not to be so rough. Time and again, I saw Ronaldo sink to the green grass writhing in pain. In the end, Portugal lost to Spain, in spite of Ronaldo's excellent acting skills. I don't want to discount Ronaldo's other talents though, as you can see from the photo of him.
As I watched the soccer players lying on the ground, I imagined what it would be like to put them on the field with NFL players. Football players get up even when they are gravely injured. They hobble off the field with torn ligaments and concussions and broken bones. I'm not condoning the brutality that happens in the NFL, but I think the soccer players could stop faking injuries and start acting a little tougher.
The least they could do is save the dramatics for an actual injury.


Linda said...

This used to really bother me too. I guess it's just part of the game. If they get taken out on a stretcher they aren't allowed back in the game for a couple of minutes. I don't watch soccer too much but my husband loves it.

Anonymous said...

I stopped by for Saturday Snapshot and got a little distracted by the shirtless Ronaldo.


Paulita said...

That's easy to do!

Unknown said...

Faking injuries in soccer is a hot topic in the last few weeks of the World Cup. I've noticed that the Brazilians were experts on this and were rolling on the grass and crying like six-year-olds after being barely touched let alone tackled. Not that I have anything against Brazil, they were playing really good (until they were devastated by Germany).
It reminds me of an article I've read the other day ( this one actually) about an elderly woman who managed to fake 49 slip-and-fall injuries to scam insurance companies. What a great soccer player she would have been!

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