On This Day: Rivaldo’s Laughable Dive Was 2002 World Cup’s Most Shocking Moment
Rivaldo ended the 2002 World Cup with a winners medal but began it with a piece of laughable playacting so shameless it saw him fined by FIFA and labelled a cheat.
The ball hit him in the knee, so naturally Rivaldo clutched his face like he'd been punched by Mike Tyson and dropped to the deck. Cue a red card for Unsal - but the controversy was just beginning.
The live crowd in South Korea, watching the replay on big screens, booed referee Kim Young-joo's decision and the media piled in afterwards. Suddenly Brazil's 2-1 win was totally overshadowed.
Perhaps the embarrassing theatrics don't seem so shocking in 2020 - but 'simulation' was a hot topic going into the 2002 World Cup. FIFA announced pre-tournament that they were cracking down on it - and Rivaldo became the first player punished under the new regulations.
Despite calls for a suspension, a disciplinary committee imposed a £5,180 fine. The 30-year-old playmaker was unrepentant, saying: "I'm calm about the punishment. I am not sorry about anything.
"I was both the victim and the person who got fined. Obviously the ball didn't hit me in the face, but I was still the victim. I did not hit anyone in the face. Nobody remembers what the Turk did. I'm not a player who fakes fouls."
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The fame of the player certainly fired the controversy. There was a strong feeling that a star with Rivaldo's incredible gifts - playing for the nation most associated with beautiful football - shouldn't be throwing himself to the floor like a puny, jobbing wrestler faced with a peak Hulk Hogan.
Add in how ridiculous it looked and the massive stage it occurred on and you had a story that has unfortunately dogged Rivaldo's career.
At least the player put it out of his mind. He'd already scored a penalty to give Brazil the win over Turkey and would net four more goals in the tournament.
Only his teammate Ronaldo scored more in 2002 as that pair - combined with Ronaldinho - led Brazil to glory with a perfect seven wins from seven matches.
What a shame that, after the Turkey game at least, fans were talking less about the magic of 'The Three Rs' and more what an absolute arse Rivaldo had made of himself.
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