Posted Monday, June 21, 2010, at 2:48 PM
For the duration of the World Cup, Slate will highlight the greatest dives by the world's greatest players. We'll score each dive in 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 as if you've been shot), and dive duration (the time from first contact to when the player gets off the ground).
Soccer dives don't usually make the front page of the New York Times . Then again, most soccer dives aren't as incredible as the one Abdul Kader Keïta performed during Sunday's Ivory Coast -Brazil match. With his team trailing 3-1 in the 87th minute, Keïta, in a clear attempt to bait the referee, ran square into Kaká. The Brazilian playmaker, probably bracing for impact, stuck out his right arm and nudged Keïta in the chest. Looking as if he'd just stared down Medusa, Keïta buried his face in his hands, fell, and rolled around the pitch as if his uniform was on fire. Kaká was given a yellow card, his second of the game, and because two yellows equal a red, he was sent off for the remainder of the match. He will also have to sit out Brazil's final group-stage clash, against Portugal. For sheer theatricality and impact on the opponent, Keïta's dive is the one to beat in this still-young tournament.
Level of actual contact:
Level of simulated contact: 10
Dive duration: About 30 seconds
If you see a particularly egregious dive in a World Cup match, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Make sure to include the names of the players involved and the time of the game when the dive occurred.