Wayne Rooney has become embroiled in the latest ‘dive’ controversy, after being accused by Slovenian’s players of taking a tumble in the weekend’s international friendly at Wembley. The Manchester United forward was fouled in the 31st minute during England’s 2-1 win – a penalty which Frank Lampard converted.
“Rooney is a good player, but I did not expect this from a player with his quality,” claimed Samir Hamidovic, the Slovenian goalkeeper. “It was wrong for him to appeal for the penalty. It was not fair play, but this is football. It was a foul for us. In this situation the referee did not do well. He gave it because England is a bigger national team than Slovenia.
“Cesar will not play on Wednesday now and will be out for ten to 15 days. He is very important for us, but it makes us angry about the penalty, not the injury.”
Midfielder Nejc Pecnik, joined in the criticism. “It didn’t look like a penalty to me, but we must accept it. Rooney went down far too easily and because he is a big name it made it easier for the referee to make a decision.”
“Lots of people dive in football, that’s sport, and if the referee whistles, it’s a penalty. Maybe he fell, but I don’t know. When Rooney went down he kicked Cesar and he’s twisted his ankle. We were very unlucky – our player was injured and somehow England got a penalty.”
There is a fresh focus on ‘simulation’ after the Arsenal striker Eduardo threw himself to the ground to win a penalty against Celtic in a Champions League qualifier. The Croatian was subsequently banned by UEFA for two Champions League games.
The penalty won by Rooney is certainly debatable. Although the Slovenian defender clearly has a handful of the striker’s shirt, the United player also appears to take out his opponent with his left foot as he falls to the ground. Penalty? No. Dive? Certainly not.