Dive of the Day: Spain's Joan Capdevila

Slate's Culture Blog
July 12 2010 11:11 AM

Dive of the Day: Spain's Joan Capdevila

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). 

There were plenty of ugly moments during the World Cup final , a game that featured 14 yellow cards. And it's hard to chastise Spain , which got kicked more than the Jabulani ball Sunday. Yet the match's most egregious dive was committed by Joan Capdevila , the tournament's first repeat winner. In the 15th minute, Holland's Robin van Persie slid in and took Capdevila's legs out from under him. It was a reckless challenge—van Persie was booked—but as he's done before, Capdevila sold the foul like countryman Pau Gasol would. After writhing in pain, Capdevila got up and played 105 or so more minutes.

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Level of actual contact: 6
Level of simulated contact: 9
Dive duration: About 30 seconds

Now for the Dive of the Tournament. This was an easy choice. When it comes to World Cup flops, there is Abdul Kader Keïta and there is everybody else. The spectacular manner in which the Ivorian midfielder covered up his face and rolled around on the ground—after getting nudged in the chest—earned him a spot on the front page of the New York Times .

It's been a wonderfully theatrical month here at Brow Beat. Thank you to the readers who sent in flop suggestions. The award for e-mail of the World Cup goes to Kevin, who sent this simple yet entertaining Dive of the Day suggestion after the Brazil-Holland semifinal: "The entire Dutch team. Throughout the entire game. They are a disgrace." But let's not kick the Dutch when they're down. They're as sore as Xabi Alonso today.

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