David Ha Brea Olinda High school 11th Grade
“Who does Neymar think he is? Neo? The Matrix has found its new actor,” wrote a user on Twitter. Arguably one of the best soccer player in the world, Neymar Jr., has become a living meme after the world cup game with Brazil and Costa Rica. In the box area, Neymar dived backwards when he was barely touched to get the referees to call a penalty. Although the referee initially awarded Neymar’s oscar worthy acting skills with a penalty, it was later overturned after reviewing with the VAR system.
Although Brazil still came out on top with a 2-0 victory against Costa Rica, it still brings up debate about the flopping issue in the world cups. Many players feel the incentive to flop because there are little to no repercussions for flopping than in a league game. Many players flop simply because their mind set is: I can get away with it and why not?
Another example was Pepe’s flop in the Portugal vs. Morocco game. As the game is about the end with a portugal victory, the Morocco captain Medhi Benatia gives Pepe a pat on the back as a way of saying good game. However, fans were in disgust as Pepe flopped to the floor, hoping for a foul call on the ref. Benatia was outraged when he received a foul call when he slightly tapped Pepe. This led to many public backlashes as people believed that Pepe’s should receive consequences. A twitter user commented, “Utterly ridiculous, this is why I find football so often hard to watch. This armature dramatics needs to be stamped out. Refs need to card players during a game.” In such a big stage like the world cups, these referees are more hesitant to call out players for flopping because they don’t want to mess up a call. Since these referees come from all around the world, they are not familiar with which player flops regularly and which player plays with honesty.
Flopping has become a tradition in these world cups as a penalty kick or a red card can shift the momentum in to one’s favor and determine the outcome of a game. However, it does make the referees’ job harder as they have to differentiate between a foul and a flop. Fortunately, FIFA is beginning to crack down on these flops to ensure a fair game for all teams. This is the first world cup where video assistant monitoring has been used to help officiate the game. This led to many controversial rulings that changed the whole world cup outcomes, like South korea’s victory over germany.
As 3.2 billion people from all over the world continue to tune in to watch the world cup, let’s hope that we see less players flopping and have more players showing good sportsmanship and effort. Thanks to the new VAR system in place, it will be harder for players to be rewarded for their acting skills.
<David Ha Brea Olinda High school 11th Grade