2019 World Cup diving wrap up, women dived less than men

2019-08-15

After tracking dives and analysing men's behaviour during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, we could only hope to do the same for the 2019 Women's World Cup in France. And we did! We analysed 1,225 plays from the 52 games of the tournament and got some interesting findings.

Here's a high level comparison between the 2 World Cups from the point of vie of diving:

Diving also happened all across the tournament. Here's a timeline of diving events (in green) and concrete impact generate by those dives (in red) at every match in the World Cup:

Timeline of dives and impact caused in each match of the women’s World Cup

Unfair impact is encoded in letters:

  • C = Card shown
  • G = Goal scored as the result of a dive
  • A = Advantage change, i.e., the diving team improved its position from losing to drawing or from drawing to winning

Remarkably, in four matches of the women’s World Cup, there were no dives whatsoever. Something that did not happen in the Men's World Cup.

  • Sweden vs Thailand on match day 2
  • Japan vs England on match day 3
  • Sweden vs United States on match day 3
  • Netherlands vs Japan in the round of 16

By contrast, there were at least 4 dives in every match during the men’s tournament. The maximum number was 28, in the France vs Peru match in the 2nd round of the group stage.

Women dived less than men

Female players in all positions consistently dived less than their male counterparts. The number of male goalkeepers who dived was so low that they are not reflected in the chart below, but it is worth noting that the number of dives by female goalkeepers was zero.

Average dive count per playing position

Although the rate at which cards were unfairly produced as a result of diving was slightly higher for women than men, in aggregate, women created less impact through deceitful behaviour as there were literally no goals or advantage changes attributable to diving in the women’s tournament.

Average impactful events per match

Systematically measuring diving helps raise awareness of the phenomenon and creates an opportunity to reward honest behaviour. In future posts, we will highlight individual players who didn’t dive at all in their respective tournaments, but the aggregate figures are also revealing. The chart below illustrates how women consistently dived less than men overall.

Non-divers vs divers

Single divers represent a special case, because they cannot be accused of frequent or consistent diving behaviour.

If you’re interested in looking at the data and run your own analysis we are sharing it here under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Please share your findings with us and with the rest of the world.

Luka Modrić, Golden Ball Award and top non diving player

The non-diving player who played the most minutes in the tournament.

More

Measuring the impact of dishonesty in football

How to measure dives and their unfair impact.

More

France and Portugal, the top divers of the World Cup

France were the team that produced the highest number of dives.

More