The World Game Lame

I watched (on TV) Australia’s Socceroos qualify for their first World Cup appearance in 32 years. It was spectacular stuff… the event was huge and there was certainly drama and action aplenty… but what is it with this acting? how can they get away with that?

I was impressed that the Spanish referee seemed on several occasions completely ignore the agonised writhings of one particular Uruguayan player – who was then left with no choice than to make a Lazarus like recovery and rejoin the game, but that didn’t seem to stop his team mates or, I’m sorry to say, a few of the Australians from diving and writhing whenever an opportunity presented itself.

Those watchers of ‘contact’ sports, such as AFL and the various Rugby codes around the world will be quite familiar with the body language that accompanies pain inflicted on a football field, and it’s nothing like the ridiculous squirming that soccer players seem to learn from some bad acting school. We know when something hurts – we don’t need interpretive break dancing to tell us.

I don’t know if it’s possible to eliminate this, but each time it happens, the game loses a bit of credibility. The referee certainly helped by ignoring several instances, but as is the case with Cricket, cameras are everywhere and they concentrate on the mistakes the referees/umpires make, so it’s a problem that is not going away. There definitely needs to be consideration of a sanction for overacting… maybe three instances make a yellow card, I don’t know.

I’m not a huge soccer fan, so I’d like to say I don’t care, but lately this sort of thing has been seen in Aussie Rules games. There’s nowhere near the scope for it in ‘our’ game – the pace is so much faster; ‘incidents’ so much more intense, and it is a ‘contact’ sport – but I certainly hope umpires don’t let it get to the ridiculous levels it has in the ‘world’ game.

Better get used to it I suppose… there’s going to be a whole lot more in the next 9 months!

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