Friday, July 07, 2006

Englishmen don't dive

Indeed, when Michael Owen belly flopped against Argentina in 2002, or when Stephen Gerrard pulled off a corker against Hungary in May this year, it was just a result of their sheer speed and skill. You see, some players can take a spectacular tumble when moving at full tilt, because of the way their momentum carries them after the slightest of mis-steps, without any contact required. Indeed, this happens to Owen, Thierry Henry and countless others, but we understand it. They aren't diving, they're just fast skilful players ensuring that they avoid injury. It's not their fault that the ref awards a penalty or a free kick for it.

James Lawton has a pretty good article in the Independent today in which he points out just how pathetic the current round of whining really is. As he says, when Gerrard or Owen take a dive, we gloss over it. We felicitate Thierry Henry as a great player, despite the fact that he took the dive of the tournament. And in the same breath, thousands of English fans could do no better than to boo the young lad who put on the best individual performance of the semi-finals. At times like this, I'm almost embarrassed by my passport.

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