There are some players who habitually dive and then get called on it – Cristiano Ronaldo, Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie, to name a few.
There are others who are saints but resort to diving at their most desperate hour – Thierry Henry and David Beckham.
And then there are those who spit on their status as heroes and respected sportsmen and resort to diving every now and then. These are heroes who unite opposing fans, who are self-righteous to a fault and preach about fair play and honesty.
These are people like Steven Gerrard.
There’s nothing wrong with diving – well, nothing wrong with it if you choose to treat all divers equally. But when refs are denied the benefit of replays, when players are protected thanks to an absence of post-match reviews, and when reputations reign over reality, players like Gerrard get away with it, while players like Drogba get unnecessary stick (even if they admit that they dive).
Liverpool’s first goal against Sheffield United was won by a blatant dive – Gerrard sees the ref, knows the defender will stop him, then chooses to fall over him, bringing the Sheff Utd defender to the floor in the process. The ref is right in front of them but gives a penalty because he saw earlier that the defender was holding Gerrard. He didnt see Gerrard’s dive, so he went with reputation and gave a penalty.
The second penalty is more debatable – Gerrard is pulled back but if you see how Gerrard’s leg suddenly collapses from under him you know (based on how you’ve seen him win penalties in the past) that Gerrard wasn’t pulled back, he had just chosen to fall down and give his team a 2-0 advantage.
Bravo Gerrard – a dive, an opportunistic penalty (which shouldn’t have been given) and that’s the game wrapped up, ladies and gentlemen.