For most of the World Cup, Brazil’s Neymar has come under fire for his antics. Those antics, of course, refer to his habit of throwing himself to the ground at despite the lightest of contact. Or in other words, diving. However. Manchester United manager José Mourinho is here to defend him. Oh yes, this is sure to go over well. His defense, per ESPN’s Rob Dawson, is that Neymar isn’t the only player who dives. Which… yes, and?
“People are focusing on Neymar, but if it was only Neymar I’d be happy — but it’s not only Neymar. Every team has lots of diving, lots of pretending, lots of putting pressure on the referee. The game loses quality, and for me that was the negative point.”
Yes, diving exits everywhere on every club or team. That doesn’t mean some players don’t go a step further than others. And in Neymar’s case, that’s what we’re talking about here. We’re not denying he gets fouled a lot. Liked Belgium’s Eden Hazard and the Netherlands’ Arjen Robben, we know this to be true. Hazard doesn’t make a meal of it quite like Neymar does. Robben, however, has quite the reputation for doing so. In fact, he and Neymar aren’t so different when it comes to their antics.
And guess what? It’s only going to keep happening the more and more officials allow it. Now, the Brazilian superstar hasn’t gained much of an advantage throughout the World Cup despite all of the falling, rolling, etc. That said, no official has booked him for simulation. That’s the problem. If you actually punish players for their actions, especially on the World Cup stage, they’re going to be smarter next time. But that’s not what’s happening. According to BBC, Neymar has spent close to 14 MINUTES on the ground during this World Cup. That’s an entirely different level of outrageous.
Still, Mourinho sees issues everywhere.
“It’s not about England and Colombia, it’s almost every match, they are creating such a difficult job for the referees in every match. Even with VAR the players are creating problems.”
That just means the referees need to do a better job. Thing is, they have the power to do so. It’s literally their job.