Brazil v Turkey, World Cup 2002
Who knew that hits to the leg are felt in the forehead? Brazil’s Rivaldo, apparently. After receiving a ball to thigh, Rivaldo tumbles to the ground and covers his face in world-ending agony. It works: Turkey star Hakan Ünsal is thrown out and Brazil wins the game–and, eventually, the cup.
Croatia v France, World Cup 1998
A rare case of overacting. France’s Laurent Blanc, held by Bilić, brusquely pushes off the Croatian. Bilić reacts by grabbing his forehead and pretending to be in excruciating pain. The ref didn’t buy it, and Bilić was sent off for the remainder of the tournament.
West Germany v Argentina, World Cup 1990
Here we see the dazzling German performing the trick of his career: a giant, windmilling exaggeration of Pedro Monzón’s slight foul. Close-up at 00:28.
Italy V Australia, World Cup 2006
Grosso manages to draw a foul by becoming suddenly and incomprehensibly flatfooted by tripping over Australia’s Lucas Neill, then looking at the referee with feigned outrage. It works: Neill is red carded and Italy wins the World Cup.
Argentina v England, World Cup 1998
A classic bit of football camp. David Beckham is toppled by Diego Simeone, Beckham raises his foot in protest, Simeone trips theatrically over said foot and falls to the ground. Beckham is ejected. Advantage: Simeone.
Ukraine v Tunisia, World Cup 2006
At 1:50 in this video (and roughly 70 minutes into the game), Shevchenko masterfully sells a huge fall after tripping over his own ankle. Penalty for Tunisia, Academy Award for Shevchenko. The resulting penalty kick won Ukraine the game, knocking Tunisia out of the tournament.
Senegal v Uruguay, World Cup 2002
Diouf would have done well in the WWE. After being touched by nothing but a strong breeze, the Senegalese star topples and collapses near Uruguay’s net.
Portugal v France, World Cup 2006
In 2006, this month’s Vanity Fair cover lad went for a monster header near France’s goal, only to be brutally shoved mid-air by a marauding Frenchmen. At least, that’s what Ronaldo tried to sell. In actual fact, he collapsed on the ground untouched after completely missing the ball.