Why Wasn’t Thomas Muller Carded for Diving?

So, very few sane people argue Pepe’s red card in Germany v. Portugal.

But shouldn’t Muller have seen yellow for his play acting after Pepe’s initial smack to the upper body?

In short, no.

The big myth amongst football fans is that this kind of dramatic exaggeration – designed to call a referee’s attention to a transgression – is simulation, which is a yellow card offense.

But there is a major difference: Simulation only occurs if there’s no foul.

If contact occurs and there’s a foul – which in this case, it’s pretty clear Muller was hit, even if he made a meal of it – it’s not simulation.

A fall after a foul – no matter how dramatic or unnecessary – is not a yellow card offense.

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 9.05.13 AM

Here’s the incident again:



What do you think? Dive or not?

Featured photo: express.co.uk


  • I think Muller got popped in the face pretty solidly. One camera angle made it look like he got a finger to the eye. That smarts.
    A similar blow would have sent Christiano cartwheeling.
    Simulation is not exageration.

    Read this today, which is to your point: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/sportingscene/2014/06/world-cup-soccer-cheating-study.html


    • Except what the article still doesn’t get is that exaggerating an injury that actual occurs, when it is not a foul, is NOT CHEATING according to FIFA’s own laws. Falls are specifically called out as NOT CHEATING.

      That’s the Law. Don’t agree with it maybe, but I understand the profound difficulties of changing it; each referee would have to make a judgment call about whether a player was really hurt and if he was hurt as badly as he said. And he would be wrong. A LOT.


  • Call it whatever you want—-he ought not to have done it.


    • That’s not the point…the point is if the ref was right not to pull a yellow. And the answer is simply “yes, he was”. Honestly, we have seen more and worse dives already, but this is the one which keeps getting discussed, even though it didn’t even cause a disadvantage for the other team. What caused the disadvantage were the actions Pepe took afterwards.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think a lot of people apply their own personal “test” to whether or not a card should be given – which usually has very little to do with what is in the Law.

        Heck, I had one guy tried to tell me that the Cameroon v Croatia referee was racist because he carded Song for his violent behavior but not the Croatian. I asked him what he would have given Mandzukic a red card for, and he couldn’t answer…


        • Honestly? That’s…well, not that unbelievable, but if I have ever seen a clear red card that was it.


          • Not unbelievable that Pedro Proenca is a racist? PEDRO PROENCA?? You can’t be serious…

            And Mandzukic literally did NOTHING but run after the ball. When Song pushed him right before he lost it, Mandzukic gave him a gentle push with his shoulder to get him off, but you could tell he was completely unprepared for what Song did.


            • No, not unbelievable that there are idiots in the world who would defend even such a despicable and unfair action. Some fans are so obsessive, they just don’t want to see.


  • I could post the whole rule, I guess. But there has to be NO FOUL for there to be simulation. If Pepe had swung and missed, or not swung at all, and Muller had gone down clutching his face, then yes.

    But he’s clearly hit, so there’s no simulation.


    • I think it’s good to point out that Pepe does this regularly. When he loses the ball and can recover it quickly, he flails his hands and catches his opponent in the face. Identical incident happened to Fabregas in an El Clasico. Foul should have been awarded anyways.


  • “feigning injury OR pretending to be fouled” – so is it simulation to feign injury even in the event of a foul? Müller clutched his face but there was no contact with that part of his body.


    • No. There must be no foul. The feigning injury is when the player isn’t even touched, but rolls around like he’s broken his leg.

      Muller WAS hit (in the chest, but the hand bounced up and hit him in the lower jaw, which is what he was clutching) and fouled, so no simulation.

      We saw firsthand in the England v Uruguay game yesterday the dangers of fans and commentators deciding whether/how much the player is actually injured. Ian Darke had the fans convinced the Uruguayan was faking, but he was unconscious with a head injury.


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