Robben dives in World Cup vs. Mexico

Image: EPA

The end of the calendar year means it’s time for the usual prestigious awards. Next month, FIFA will hand out their 2014 Ballon d’Or, their Women’s Player of the Year, and their Puskas Award for the best goal. Each winner will be lucky to follow some of the greats that won before them. But we’re not going to talk about that today.

No, today we are going to find out who has the best case for taking home the 2014 Fallon d’Floor trophy. This highly distinguished awa… I’m sorry? What is the Fallon d’Floor?

Well, thanks for asking. It’s only a slightly less prestigious award that was invented on Reddit like a few days ago. The goal is to nominate six finalists for the best dive or flop of 2014, let the people cast their vote, and crown the slippery-footed winner. Yes, it’s just the first annual, but this could be historic. Thus, we will treat it with the seriousness it deserves.

The creators of the Fallon d’Floor award would like us to consider the nominees on the basis of most theatrical, while also giving more importance if the dive decided the outcome of an important game. So let’s rank these nominees, analyzing each with these two categories on a scale of 10 for theatricality and 5 for importance.

6. Cristiano Ronaldo – 9/15

The most recent entry on the list, Ronaldo’s phantom dive occurred just a couple weeks ago, on December 6th in a La Liga match vs. Celta Vigo. As you can see, the defender grazes Ronaldo’s right arm as he enters the box, then as the ball sails over their heads, Ronaldo (now well past the defender) goes down like a sniper shot him in the back. How he was awarded a penalty for this we will never know.

Theatricality: 7/10 – CR7 deliberately drags his left toe, ducks his head, and crumples as if the defender had unceremoniously yanked him down. But as we will see from other nominees, there was even more he could have done to sell the call if he really wanted to lift this trophy.

Importance: 2/5 – It added a goal in a league game that Real Madrid would easily win no matter what. Nothing to see here.

5. Giancarlo Gonzalez – 10/15

This one just makes you angry, doesn’t it? Wondo gets laid out for no reason, gets up and gives Gonzalez a slight push to the chest, and watches in helpless frustration as he drops in a heap. Doesn’t Gonzalez know this isn’t the 1960s and there are cameras everywhere? Fortunately, he was fined by the MLS a couple days later for embellishment.

Theatricality: 8/10 – Based on the way he fell, you would expect Gonzalez took a sucker punch to the kidney. He also rolls around on the ground for a little extra sell.

Importance: 2/5 – An early season MLS match that had little stakes brings down Gonzalez’s overall score. ‘A’ for effort, though.

4. Adryan – 11/15

This one really is inexplicable.

Theatricality: 10/10 – Still, you have to kind of respect the commitment to the part of a spineless flopper. Subtlety be damned, Adryan just goes for it here, leaving many to wonder, is he having a seizure? There’s no doubt it’s a foul on the tackler, but the aftermath is simply unbelievable. Hard to top this kind of theater.

Importance: 1/5 – Where this one stumbles is game scenario. As it occurred during a Football League Championship match (England’s second-division), it’s not even a top-flight league game and it hardly decided anything. However, it remains to be seen if Adryan will be up for an Oscar this year despite submitting a powerhouse performance in such a small film.

3. Luis Suarez – 11/15

The bite heard round the world. Er – felt around the world? Whatever, it’s just amazing that the flop was kind of overlooked because everyone was so shocked he had done it AGAIN.

Theatricality: 7/10 – Shortly after sinking his teeth into Chiellini, the Italian defender reacted as any normal person would, and threw his elbow at his attacker. It’s unclear how much contact he made, but Suarez fell as if he was just cold-cocked for no reason and then he proceeded to hold his teeth, essentially implying what he had just done.

Importance: 4/5 – It didn’t decide the game by any means, but the offense did occur during a World Cup group match, so that automatically lends it some weight.

2. Arjen Robben – 12/15

Robben is a professional diver. The guy is as good as they get. That’s not necessarily meant solely as a criticism, because I really didn’t have a problem with Robben going down in this situation. It’s what he did before he hit the ground that made this egregious.

Theatricality: 7/10 – It’s fairly clear that Rafa Marquez  (who should really know better) left his foot in a precarious position and maybe-kinda-sorta clipped the Dutch winger’s foot. As Robben lets gravity take him down, he flails both his arms and his legs in a blatant attempt to draw a whistle. And it worked.

Importance: 5/5 – Injury time of a tied World Cup knockout round match? If this isn’t important then I’m not sure what is. The Netherlands would go through and all of Mexico agonized over what could have been without the flopping Robben.

1. Fred – 13/15

What a way to kick off the World Cup, huh? As the world is celebrating the opening match of the 2014 tournament, Fred reminds many why they don’t like soccer with a fully ridiculous dive that earns them a penalty.

Theatricality: 9/10 – Before he even starts going down his hands are going up pleading for a penalty. That would be high comedy if it didn’t end so depressingly for Croatia. What made it even worse is this only happened because of a poor touch on the ball by Fred himself, who then felt the slightest contact on his back and decided to dive shamelessly.

Importance: 4/5 – Late on in a tied World Cup group match, Fred’s flop pretty much swung the game in Brazil’s favor. They got another goal to make it 3-1 later, but you can’t blame Croatia for losing a little energy after the host nation was gifted such an awful penalty.

There you have it. The immortal Fred is our choice for the 2014 Fallon d’Floor title. You may disagree. Make sure you go to to cast your vote.


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