So often our beautiful game is marred in controversy and this summer’s World Cup has been unable to escape the drama. Despite being officiated by the World’s best referees, and the introduction of goal-line technology, the words ‘decision’ and ‘rubbish’ have not been too far from the lips of football fans since the opening match of the tournament.
Pundits waffle on so frequently about referees having the ‘hardest job in the world’ that it is almost a cliché in its own right – but they are correct. In a modern football world where players throw themselves to the ground, scythe down their opponents and stick out an arm to stop the ball going into the net, mistake are bound to be made.
Officials can sometimes be excused, as there are only three pairs of eyes available to spot something, though not in the case of South Africa 2010 when Frank Lampard’s goal against Germany was not allowed to stand despite being two yards over the line. But these mishaps, granted not as horrific as the Lampard decision, are becoming more common and those on the pitch are doing little to help things.
Footballers on the pitch and managers on the sidelines are pushing the boundaries further and further in order to get decisions in their favour. Diving, for example, happens a lot a club level and sadly the frustrating habit is carried over, and some, onto the international stage.
Whether it be the diving, handball, cynical fouling or even taking a few drugs, the dark side of football often comes to the fore at a FIFA World Cup.
Here are the 10 biggest cheats at World Cup finals, and they almost certainly won’t be the last…