Unless you live under a rock, you already know that 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup started in France this past Friday. In the opening game of this premier women soccer tournament, France convincingly bested South Korea 4:0. And today, Germany defeated China 1:0; although, Germany’s win was much less convincing as the Chinese team wasted plenty of scoring opportunities, particularly in the first half of the game.
Both games were highly entertaining but I want to raise an issue that’s been on our minds here at SoccerRefereeUSA for a very long time now. The issue concerns the player behavior and, in particular, what we see as prevalent in the men’s game: flopping, diving, faking or exaggerating injuries and general misbehavior towards referees. None of this, however – and I mean NONE – is present in the women’s game.
Women play their game “clean.” Theirs is truly the beautiful game. Now, don’t misunderstand me. When I say that women play “clean,” I don’t mean to say that their games are not competitive or that they somehow are afraid to make that tough tackle or that they lack physicality. No, that is not what I meant. In fact, women are as tough and as competitive as men. They don’t shy away from tough tackles and their game is physical as well.
Instead, when I say that they play “clean,” I mean that their game is completely devoid of diving, faking, exaggerating injuries and misconduct towards a referee. It’s so refreshing to see this beautiful game played competitively but also in the spirit of fairness. Their goals are truly deserved and not the result of deception or deceit.
As I was watching the opening games of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, I could not help myself and think back to the last men’s FIFA World Cup that took place in Russia in 2018. And particularly contrasting those games with the women’s games. For example, need I remind you how much criticism – and justifiably so – was leveled at Neymar for his play-acting? In fact, Neymar’s theatrics were so bad and so obvious that some of them inspired memes, mocking Neymar, that spread like wildfires on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. But Neymar is not the only player guilty of this cardinal soccer sin. Many other players – too many – engage is this footballing disgrace.
Women, unlike men, know how to play soccer the way it was intended. At times, the men’s game perverts how the beautiful game is meant to be played. We hope that VAR will be employed more aggressively to root out that ugly part of the men’s game. In the meantime, watch the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and enjoy witnessing highly competitive soccer played in the spirit of the game. Men, take notice!