To show you what not to do, each Friday STACK brings you a moment from the weight room or sports field gone horribly wrong.
If soccer (and sorry, we’re going to continue calling it “soccer,” because this is ‘Merica) is “the beautiful game,” then flopping is the forehead pimple she keeps trying to cover up with her bangs. A combination of low-scoring matches, ridiculously easy penalty kicks and cushy grass fields has turned soccer into the world’s floppiest sport. Don’t believe us? Watch five minutes of a World Cup match. We guarantee that you’ll see at least one world-class athlete display an alarming lack of shame by acting like an eyeball has been ripped from his skull.
We take a firm anti-flopping stance at STACK. However, if you’re willing to lose the respect of everyone on the field to gain a slight advantage, we present six proven techniques from some of the world’s best floppers. Proceed at your own risk.
The DIY Yellow Card
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You don’t have to wait for an opponent to lift a finger if you’re willing to give the old DIY Yellow Card a try. Above, Chilean player Bryan Carrasco executes a textbook DIY Yellow Card by using his opponent’s hand to hit his own face. Breathtaking.
Effectiveness: Carrasco didn’t draw the yellow card, but he did get a free kick. He’ll take it!
The Double Flop
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The best defense against the DIY Yellow Card is the Double Flop. In this video, German trainer Norbert Meier attempts a DIY Yellow Card by fake headbutting opposing player Albert Streit and falling over. Streit, however, will have none of it, and he executes a perfect Double Flop immediately as Meier starts falling. Who are you going to believe, ref?
Effectiveness: The ref believed Meier and gave Streit a red card. (The rare DIY Red Card! Well done, Meier!) But after reviewing the tape, the league found Streit innocent and suspended Meier for three months. A hollow victory for the Double Flop.
The Bugs Bunny
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Coaches are not above getting in on the action. When an opposing manager puts his hand somewhere near this coach’s neck, he decides to channel his inner Bugs Bunny and fake a death scene. He’s obviously been studying—compare his technique to the Wascally Wabbit’s below.
Effectiveness: Not great. Most refs are not Elmer Fudd.
The Head. Always the Head.
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During a 2002 World Cup match against Turkey, Brazilian midfielder Rivaldo Ferreira executed what may be the most famous flop ever. Frustrated with Rivaldo wasting time during the waning minutes of a match, Turkish player Hakan Unsal kicked the ball at Rivaldo’s leg. Rivaldo immediately collapsed to the ground, HOLDING HIS HEAD. The ref fell for it, and aspiring floppers have been mimicking the move ever since.
Effectiveness: Unsal earned a red card. Rivaldo earned a fine. Brazil won. “I am not sorry about anything,” Rivaldo said. “I was both the victim and the person who got fined.” Attaboy, champ. Hold your head high.
The Delayed Reaction
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Can’t reach a ball before it goes out of bounds? Try the Delayed Reaction, demonstrated here by Norwegian player Morten Gamst Pedersen. Pedersen watches the ball going out, looks at the defender 10 feet behind him, then decides to fall dramatically to the ground, because why not? Unlike Rivaldo, however, Pedersen made things worse later by trying to defend himself. “It looks stupid from one of the angles—as if I just fell down,” he said. “But there are other angles and things to consider. I feel something and go down.”
Effectiveness: .01 percent. But it doesn’t hurt to try!
The Backseat Freakout
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If you’ve ever driven a minivan full of children, you’re familiar with this one. Clayton messes up Joey’s Jetpack Joyride game. Joey flicks Clayton’s ear. Clayton immediately starts writhing around like his head has been dipped in acid, then electrocuted. Screaming ensues.
Effectiveness: STOP. Just. Stop.
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