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On This Day: Rivaldo’s Laughable Dive Was 2002 World Cup’s Most Shocking Moment

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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.

Brazil had a corner late in their group game against Turkey when Hakan Unsal fired the ball - admittedly quite forcefully - toward Rivaldo, who was delaying taking it.

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.

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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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PA Images
PA Images

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.

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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.

Topics: Football World Cup, Football News, Football, Rivaldo, Turkey, 2002 World Cup, World Cup, Brazil

Alex Reid
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