Dive of the Day: Oh No, Thomas Müller’s Beautiful Face!

Slate's soccer blog.
June 16 2014 1:53 PM

Dive of the Day: Oh No, Thomas Müller’s Beautiful Face!

Will Thomas Müller's face ever be the same again?

Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Thomas Müller was the clear MVP of Germany’s 4–0 win over Portugal, scoring a fantastic hat trick. But the Bayern Munich player’s biggest contribution may have come courtesy of his fine acting skills. After Portuguese defender Pepe swiped at his neck in a high Michael Jordan–style push-off move, Müller collapsed to the ground in apparent agony and cradled his poor, beautiful face with both hands. The performance got the desired effect, sending the short-tempered Pepe over the edge. The Real Madrid man responded with the most pitiful head-butt we’ve ever seen, but it was enough to get sent off. The Portuguese now have six red cards in 15 games since 2002, at least one in each of the last four World Cups. This is twice as many as any other team during the same time. Pepe will also miss the next match with Team USA, so thank you for that, Thomas Müller!

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.


Level of actual contact: 6
Level of simulated contact: 10
Dive duration: 4 seconds 

This was clearly a foul on the part of Pepe, but the level simulation was impressive. Müller acted like he was going to need reconstructive jaw surgery until the moment of Pepe’s fateful head-butt, and then the German leaped to his feet and forgot all about his face. It took all of four seconds for Müller to recover from the brutal attack.

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



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