Is it possible to succeed without diving?
In our study of the World Cups, we found many examples of successful players and teams who didn’t use diving as one of their main tactics.
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Unquestionably one of the best players in the history of football, he was one of the few top ranked male players who didn't dive.
Diving behaviour of top ranked male players
Ranking at the time of the 2018 World Cup
Martha Vieira (Brazil)
Often regarded as the greatest female footballer of all time, she was one of the few top ranked female players who didn't dive.
Diving behaviour of top ranked female players
Ranking at the time of the 2019 World Cup
The 3rd place
and top scoring team
during the 2018 World Cup in Russia was also one of the teams that dived least. Became #1 team in FIFA rankings
a couple of months after the World Cup (September 2018)
Men’s goals vs dives
in the women's tournament and was the only team of either gender with more goals than dives
. Reached #5 in the FIFA rankings
a couple of months after the World Cup (September 2019)
Women’s goals vs dives
The philosophy and values we are trying to promote are perfectly captured in a 2016 Gatorade Commercial featuring Lionel Messi.
“They say Messi doesn’t talk much.
He’s been preaching to us all along.
If you look, you can hear him.
He’s saying: don’t go down brothers and sisters, don’t go down.
When life kicks you and tries to tackle you, don’t go down.
When your legs are heavy and your lungs are burning, don’t go down.
When you have every reason to go down, do not go down.
You can’t defy the odds when you’re down.
You can’t make someone a believer when you’re down.
Messi is spreading the word.
Don’t let things on the outside be stronger than what’s on the inside.
Because life has more in store for you, if you just stay up.”
The same message is equally embodied by Marta, Modrić, Kanté, Sembrant, van Lunteren, and the many other female and male footballers who we found demonstrating honesty on the pitch.
Learn about them and much more in
The Diving Report
Our deepest gratitude and respect goes out to all players who resist the temptation to dive, at whatever level of the sport.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the World Cup final or a Sunday morning street game with your friends.