Neymar’s Diving Antics Can’t Continue

The 2018 World Cup was very entertaining, but everything wasn’t fun and games. The tournament also had some undeniable low-points. Soccer legends across the world accosted superstar Neymar for his diving. Germany was knocked out in the group stage. And worst of all, the Japanese national team lost its 2-0 lead to fall short in its Round of 16 matchup against Belgium (okay, I’ll stop talking about that).

Aside from Japan’s unfortunate loss, I think the most unfortunate aspects of this World Cup was Neymar’s antics. Despite such talent, Neymar is wasting his potential by diving, and he’s bringing down the game with him. As said by soccer analysts, soccer legends, and Twitter, the Brazilian’s immoral actions added a dark side to the World Cup. Criticizing him is a necessary step to curb the pitch-acting. We can’t continue to overlook these flops if we want this genuine, beautiful game to continue.

Neymar’s dives have have many unfortunate consequences.

  1. Other players will feel the need to dive so that they can keep up with Neymar.
  2. These dives muddle the line between real fouls and dirty dives, not only creating difficult situations for referees, but also taking away from actual offenses.
  3. They teach the next generation to continue these antics.
  4. The game of soccer will receive a bad reputation.
  5. Slowly, the definition of “talent” will change to include diving as a criterion.
  6. For Neymar, his shot at a Balon Dor will definitely worsen.

No one likes to see diving in soccer. Flopping ruins the beauty of the game, and to put the matter simply, it’s a very dishonest act. Of course, inciting a foul is a valid tactic. However, flopping around like a fish isn’t the way to go. Neymar’s talent is superb and he surely has the potential to dominate the Beautiful Game for the next few years as he reaches his peak, so his legacy shouldn’t be his deplorable acting on the pitch.

Featured image from: Gilmer, Marcus. “Neymar’s World Cup Dive Gives Us the Top-notch Memes We’ve Been Waiting for.” Mashable. July 02, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.


Crunching the Numbers of the Past World Cups: A Hopeful Trend

Beyond the laughter and tears, this past world cup continued a hopeful trend in international soccer.

In the 2002 South Korea/Japan games, of the 64 total matches, only 53% (34/64) of the matches were won by the higher ranked team, with 25% (16/64) of the games ending in an upset.

In the 2006 Germany World Cup, 52% (33/64) of the games were one by the favorites, while 31% (20/34) of the games were upsets.

In the 2010 South Africa games, 59% (38/64) of games were won by the higher-ranked nation, while 20% (13/64) of matches were upsets.

In the 2014 Brazil games, 69% (44/64) of games were won by the higher-ranked nation, while 17% (11/64) resulted in upsets.

In this recent 2018 Russia World Cup, only 53% (34/64) were won by the nation with the higher FIFA ranking, while a whopping 33% (21/64) of the matches resulted in upsets.

In the past five World Cups, the “favorites” of each matchup had only a 57% chance of winning. The inferior team won 25% of the time.

Furthermore, 92% (147/160) of the squads involved in the last 5 Cups obtained at least one point in the group stage.

These numbers sketch the unpredictable nature of the World Cup. To make the World Cup even more entertaining, lower ranked teams have improved drastically, thus decreasing the gap between the weaker sides and the European/South American powerhouses. I’m really excited about what the World Cup will hold in the future.

Citations: “2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan ™ – Matches.” Accessed July 16, 2018. “2006 FIFA World Cup Germany ™ – Matches.” Accessed July 16, 2018. “2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ – Matches.” Accessed July 16, 2018. “2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ – Matches.” Accessed July 16, 2018. “2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ – Matches.” Accessed July 16, 2018. “Men’s Ranking-15 May 2002.” The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Ranking Table. Accessed July 16, 2018. “Men’s Ranking-17 May 2006.” The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Ranking Table. Accessed July 16, 2018. “Men’s Ranking-26 May 2010.” The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Ranking Table. Accessed July 16, 2018. “Men’s Ranking-05 June 2014.” The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Ranking Table. Accessed July 16, 2018. “Men’s Ranking-07 June 2018.” The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – Ranking Table. Accessed July 16, 2018.
Featured image from: Sky Sports. “World Cup Fixtures: The Full Schedule for Russia 2018.” Sky Sports. July 15, 2018. Accessed July 16, 2018.

World Cup Game Analysis: Japan vs. Columbia


Everyone counted against Japan winning their World Cup opener against Columbia. Well, they were wrong. The Samurai Blue led a superb upset.

Japan started off with a bang as Yuya Osako (FW) pressured the Columbian backline and created a breakaway. Kagawa’s (MF) following shot led to a penalty kick and a red card for Carlos Sanchez (DF). I have already seen people saying that Sanchez’s hand ball was accidental and wasn’t deserving of a red card. This claim is ridiculous. To say that Sanchez’s hand naturally floated mid-air for that long until the ball hit it, is just absolutely insane. He definitely intended to pull a Suarez. Anyways, the Japanese shooter calmly put away the PK, and I hoped the rest of the game would go Japan’s way.

However, I saw a sloppy 30 minutes from both sides afterwards, as passes seemed to go wide. Japan is not used to having the upper-hand because people count us out. Their playing reflected this reality.

A dive from Falcao and a terrible referee decision led to a sneaky freekick goal by Quintero (MF) as he rolled the ball under Japan’s wall. Honestly, the ref’s decision to reward Falcao’s blatant dive was much worse than his decision to send off Sanchez. Watch the highlights, and you’ll notice that Falcao was LITERALLY the one who tried to lay the body on Hasebe (MF), but the Columbian dove. WHY? HOW DOES THAT WORK?

The second half was all Japan. Japan created chance after chance, but the Blue boys failed to concede. But in the 73rd minute, Osako scored a beautiful header. Ospina (GK) was caught off the goal-line as he fails to decide between punching the ball and keeping his ground. Columbia never seemed to find their attacking rhythm. Despite James Rodriguez’s entering the match in the second half, chances were minimal for the Columbian side. The long 5-minute stoppage time felt like an hour, but Japan came out with three points.

My man of the match was easily Osako (FW), and he rightfully won the award. Throughout the match, he made beautiful runs that exposed the Columbian backline. The opening goal was a result of Osako’s breakaway even though his initial shot was blocked. Furthermore, in the 78th minute, he barely blocked a close-range shot from James Rodriguez. Most importantly, he scored the decisive goal.

Other great performances came from Nagatomo (DF) and Gen Shoji (DF). Nagatomo showed outstanding ability to keep up with Cuadrado, and he made quick runs and had a few crosses. Shoji displayed his defensive coolness by outplaying Falcao in many situations.

The Columbian side didn’t display their South American flair in their first match, but I hope to see some exciting soccer from players like Cuadrado (MF) and James Rodriguez in the upcoming Group H matches.

Conclusively, Japan’s victory was a historical one as it was the Samurai Blue’s first time winning a World Cup matchup against a South American team. The game was yet another upset. I’m super hyped that Japan finally got their revenge against Columbia, following their 1-4 defeat four years ago. Never count us out!

“Colombia vs Japan June 19, 2018 – 2018 FIFA World Cup Commentary.” FOX Sports. Accessed June 19, 2018. “2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ – Matches – Colombia – Japan.” Accessed June 19, 2018.