Dive of the Day: Diego Costa Falls on a Dutchman

Slate's soccer blog.
June 13 2014 3:56 PM

Dive of the Day: Diego Costa Falls on a Dutchman

Diego Costa dives his way to a penalty kick.
Diego Costa dives his way to a penalty kick.

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Two days of the 2014 World Cup, two penalties given on dives. This has been a rough start to the 2014 World Cup for officials. In the 26th minute of the Group B opener between Spain and the Netherlands—a replay of the 2010 World Cup final—Xavi played a brilliant through ball to Diego Costa. The Brazilian-born striker paused for a second and Dutch defender Stefan de Vrij slid past him in an effort to make a catch-up tackle. As de Vrij was sliding by, rather than score, Costa stepped on his opponent’s passing leg, dove on his stomach, and was awarded the penalty.

We score dive of the day on three categories: level of actual contact (1 if there's no contact at all, 10 for a huge collision), level of simulated contact (1 for a stoic response, 10 for acting like you've been shot), and dive duration.

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This was not obviously a dive on first glance. There was contact in the box, and Costa did go down because of it. But he sought it out, stepping behind himself onto his opponent’s leg in order to earn the "foul." Costa is already loathed in Brazil for selecting to play with the Spanish rather than the tournament hosts, and this simulation will make them appreciate him even less.

Level of actual contact: 4
Level of simulated contact: 6
Dive duration: 7 seconds 

Jeremy Stahl is a Slate senior editor. You can follow him on Twitter.