Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
When I go to the theatre, I wouldn’t expect to see a soccer match break out on stage.
And so when I’m watching a soccer match I don’t want to see theatrics.
But watching the diving, feigned injuries and other nefarious attempts to fool the referee when Spain played against Italy in the quarter-finals made me wish both teams could somehow be eliminated.
It’s a beautiful game, but it was bad theatre and worse soccer. It was the first match of the tournament that I stopped watching after a while because the acting was putting me off.
Italy’s Luca Toni might be tall and intimidating when he runs towards the goal — and a likeable player at Bayern Munich — but several times it looked like it only took a gentle breeze to topple him in Vienna.
Spain’s David Villa later got a yellow card for diving in the penalty area but he was by no means the only player to hit the ground hard after the slightest contact.
German referee Herbert Fandel deserves credit for seeing through it all. Sure, he might have failed to award a penalty in the first half for Spain but really it’s like the little boy who cried wolf. After a while you assume everything is an act.