There were two big talking points from
I know there’s a lot of frustration when someone’s favorite team goes out – and I recognize that
As for the Dutch, did Arjen Robben go down too easily at times? Probably. On the other hand, what choice does an attacking player have when he’s met with brute force and efforts at intimidation rather than legal, physical defending?
And accusations of "diving" really are too much.
There’s a difference between "diving" and what often goes on with attackers dealt with in such a thuggish manner. Drawing attention to fouls to help ensure that the referee does his job is not "diving."
The action in the 52nd minute of
"Bastos leaves the pitch before he can get himself sent off. Which, let's face it, he should have been already. Gilberto Melo comes on in his stead."
So, again, I don’t see the problem here. If Robben (or anyone else) does that thing were they throw their body into a defender looking for a foul, or kicks out at a defender as they go by in order to draw a whistle for "tripping," that’s something entirely different.
But Bastos was making a point to hit Robben at every opportunity. The rules of this game are quite clear here: when a player has position, it’s illegal to run up from behind and hit, whack or kick the guy. If the defender has some chance of gaining position and attempts to win the ball, then being physical is OK. But Bastos repeatedly hit and kicked Robben from behind. In that case, I don’t see any point in an attacking player straining to keep his balance. He’s probably just going to lose the ball – thereby rewarding the defender for doing nothing skillful, but for breaking the rules.
The other situation is a little more complicated.
When players break the rules, they are taking a calculated gamble. Suarez certainly was. He gambled that by stopping the ball and preventing a sure goal, even at the expense of expulsion, he was giving his side a chance. A slim one, but a chance.
It happened to pay off. But players do that all over the field, all game long. Every intentional foul is a calculated risk. It’s the referee’s job to ensure that these actions are met with the appropriate punishment. Suarez was sent off and
It’s a tough situation, but I just cannot judge Robben nor Suarez too harshly.