World Cup unsung hero: N’Golo Kanté


The player who doesn’t dive. The player who plays one, two, five, any number of matches and just doesn’t dive. That is the true hero of the World Cup, when looked at through the lens of diving.

  • In this World Cup, there were 261 players who did not dive at all.
  • Half of them played 90 minutes or less.
  • 84% of them 3 matches or less.
  • Only 4 played 7 matches.
  • And out of those 4, only 2 of them were outfield players.

They were both midfielders: Luka Modrić was the non-diving player who was on the pitch for the longest time (692 minutes) and N’Golo Kanté, who played 594 minutes. For context, the top male diver committed 18 dives in 450 minutes of playing time.

Kanté’s case was even more remarkable given that the non-diving midfielder who was on the pitch for the third longest time, Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay), only played 362 minutes – 61% of Kanté’s playing time.

Note: playing times are not 100% exact, as stoppage time was not taken into account.

We've already celebrated Modrić as the top non-diving player in the tournament, and we believe N’Golo Kanté is as remarkable demonstrating it is possible to succeed, winning the World Cup with France without a single dive.

Thank you N’Golo for the best example of honesty for the youth!

Header photo by Антон Зайцев

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