The Irish soccer team had to travel to the Czech Republic for a crucial group game in the qualifiers for the 2008 European Championships. By the time the game was over, all I could think was, maybe I owe Bill 'sports guy' Simmons an apology. Maybe soccer is a game of flopping, diving and, as FIFA call it, 'simulating'.
The Irish suffered a massive blow on 62 minutes with Greek referee Kyros Vassaras' harsh decision to send off Hunt after the Irishman had clearly won the ball in a sliding challenge but caught Polak with his follow through. Check out the pained expression on Polak's face. It is as if he has been eviscerated, not tackled legitimately. He is completely and utterly trying to con the referee by simulating being hurt by a tackle. Twenty five seconds later, after Hunt had been sent off, Polak was up and about, not a care in the world, certainly not injured. Job done so.
I wasn't the only one infuriated by the Czech's abysmal Kiera Knightly level acting. At 20:51 with the Irish players standing around bemused at the ref sending Hunt off, he sent me a text message saying 'That was never a red!'. At 20:52 he sent another one saying; 'Ridiculous decision! Wasn't even a yellow!' after having seen the replay a few times.
Home town call? Sure, a little. However the referee was basically conned by the diving, flopping, cheating Czech player, Polak. I can not stress that enough. He faked injury so that the referee would send the Irish player off. Who fakes injury? Cheats. Cheats and real wimps.
Small consolation is provided by the knowledge that Sporting Karma, will hopefully, deal with this collection of diving swans otherwise known as the Czech football team. Sporting Karma frowns on that sort of thing.
So, two questions for any Czech soccer fans who stumble across this. First off, how does it feel to support a team of floppers, divers and, basically, cheats? How's that working out for you? If you love football, and I am sure many of you Czech's do, how does it feel to root for a player like the reprehensible Milan Baros?
He didn't play a match last night as much as 'act' for two hours. He was constantly diving and throwing himself to the ground in a desperate attempt to con the referee. In the first half, while pushing back on Irish defender Paul McShane, he pretty much just flopped to the ground in an effort to win a penalty. That's cheating. Milan Baros is a cheat. If you love Czech football, how does it feel watching him play for you? I guess it's fine if he's on your side, eh?
Okay so, secondly, as a Czech football fan, how did it feel to be pinned in your own half for the last 20 minutes of the game by ten man (Remember, your player cheated to get one of Ireland's sent off) Ireland? Ireland attacked incessantly and were very unlucky not to score and force a totally deserved equaliser. Kevin Doyle hit the bar and right at the death, Kovac almost diverted the ball into his own net after a McShane cross but it went inches over the bar.
Looks like the Czech's will qualify probably. Hopefully they get absolutely stuffed in every single game they play in the European Championships. However, not before one of their floppers, I mean, players, does something so ridiculous that it forces FIFA to have a look at the issue of diving, flopping, simulating, whatever you want to call it.
It is ugly, it's cheating and it has no place in soccer.
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