The Diving Report

An analysis of deceptive behaviours observed in the 116 matches of the 2018 Men’s World Cup in Russia and 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.

Understanding behaviors

This report is based on a non-verbal behavioural study from the University of Portsmouth, UK, which has identified specific behaviours players engage in when trying to deceive referees.

Collecting the data

We used the regular TV feed in order to collect data. In many cases, we focused on the Video Replays to analyse players’ behaviours in more detail.


  • Quality assurance and bias mitigation processes were used to minimise tracking errors. Nevertheless, results should be taken as directional rather than exact.
  • This report doesn’t claim to have statistical significance in categorising players’ behaviour over time. It’s only a representation of a measurement model applied to the 2 tournaments tracked.

What you’ll find

  • A detailed explanation of how to identify dives
  • A description of the measurement model used to track dives during the World Cups
  • 25+ insights from our data analysis
  • Much more besides!

Women dived
less than men

43% of male players didn’t dive

63% of female players didn’t dive

Diving icon

All teams dived

icon players

Some teams’ diving had concrete impact on others

Use this chart to visualize how many times a dive from one team (left side) unfairly impacted another team (right side). The number and size of the connections represent how many cards were produced, goals were scored or score advantages were changed due to those dives.

+ Plus
  • Full comparative analysis of men vs women

  • Comparative analysis across confederations

  • Scoring vs dives analysis (fair play top scorer)

  • Analysis of behaviour and impact created by teams

  • Most frequent divers and top non-divers

  • Best player analysis

+ Stories highlighting honest behaviour by players and teams:
  • Players

  • Sweden

    Caroline Seger

  • Canada

    Christine Sinclair

  • Russia

    Denis Cheryshev

  • Netherlands

    Desiree van Lunteren

  • United Kindom

    Ellen White

  • Sweden

    Linda Sembrant

  • Argentina

    Lionel Messi

  • Croatia

    Luka Modrić

  • France

    N’Golo Kanté

  • Belgium

    Romelu Lukaku

  • Sweden

    Sofia Jakobsson

  • Belgium

    Toby Alderweireld

  • France

    Wendie Renard

  • Teams

  • Sweden

    Sweden and Thailand Women’s

  • Belgium
    Saudi Arabia

    Belgium and Saudi Arabia Men’s

+ And some unfortunate diving stories too:
  • Players

  • Serbia

    Aleksandar Mitrović

  • USA flag

    Alex Morgan

  • France

    Antoine Griezmann

  • Argentina

    Estefanía Banini

  • Cameroon

    Gabrielle Aboudi Onguéné

  • Netherlands

    Lineth Beerensteyn

  • Argentina

    Mariela Coronel

  • Sweden

    Martin Olsson

  • USA flag

    Megan Rapinoe

  • Brazil


  • Colombia

    Radamel Falcao

  • Australia

    Tameka Yallop

  • Teams

  • Australia
    USA flag

    Australia and USA Women’s

  • France

    France and Portugal Men’s

Get access to the raw data