In match #58 of the men’s World Cup, Brazil face Belgium in the quarter-finals. Belgium score in the first half gaining a 0-2 advantage. At minute 51:58, Neymar (Brazil) dives inside the box. The Referee sees the incident and makes it clear that he will not award a penalty. While Brazil’s coach asks for a VAR review, Neymar gets up and encourages his teammates to continue playing.
The next time the game stops (minute 53:04), VAR broadcasts the review replay, which clearly shows Neymar extending his right leg in search of contact with Marouane Fellaini (Belgium), then falling to the ground despite the failure of this attempt. No caution is given.
This is not a story about concrete impact caused by a dive, but about the lack of action when an attempt to deceive the referee has clearly been discovered. According to Law 12, Section 3, the player should have been cautioned for unsporting behaviour. Neymar is far from the only player to benefit from such omission. We didn’t see any player cautioned for diving in the two World Cups we analysed.
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