Why Do Soccer Players Flop?

Why Do Soccer Players Flop

Soccer players flop or fake an injury during a match to gain an advantage against their opponent. By selling your performance to a referee that you got hurt, you can get a free kick, a penalty kick, a yellow card against an opposing player, slow the game down, and more. However, there is no guarantee that you falling to the ground will result in anything, and it can backfire for your team and you.


So, what are common names for flopping in soccer, and what is an example? Can flopping backfire during a game if the referee doesn’t believe you got hurt? Here is the complete breakdown of why soccer players flop during a match.


Common Names in Football (Soccer)

  • Diving
  • FIFA Simulation
  • Schwalbe
  • Flopping


What is an Example of a Flop (Fake Injury) in Soccer?

What is an Example of a Flop (Fake Injury) in Soccer

When flopping or diving occurs in soccer, it intends to result from a bit of contact between two players wear one will fall to the ground and grab their ankle or shin in pain. Contact could be from a slide tackle or just from a regular collision when two players are going after the soccer ball and might trip each other. If one player is trying to sell the flop to the refs, they will go down to the ground and fake an injury that makes it seem difficult for them to get back up. They might even roll around on the grass for a bit, making it seem like a hard foul.


Another example of a flop occurs during a header moment. On corner kicks, when someone kicks the ball towards the goal, you will see a few players jump up to head the ball either towards the goal or away from it. One player might fall to the ground and hold their head in pain if they want to pretend they got hit in the head by an opposing player.


Why are Fake Injuries Part of Soccer?

why are fake injuries part of soccer

The main reason for faking an injury in soccer is to gain a strategic advantage. For example, you might exaggerate a fall inside the penalty box, resulting in a penalty kick for your team. You tend to see the flopper exaggerate the call looking for the referee to award them a free kick or penalty kick against the goalkeeper.


Another reason to fake an injury is to get the opposing player a yellow card. For instance, you can sell your flop as a hard and unnecessary foul, which can have the referee issue a yellow card against the opposing player. Getting a yellow card can mentally mess with a team because they might feel unfair and force the opposing player to play more cautiously, so they don’t get another yellow card in the match.


Finally, flopping can also slow down the momentum of the opposing team. If the referee believes that the fouled player needs time to get up, they will stop the action to address the issue. Then from the foul, they might give the ball to the defense to start or give a player a penalty kick.


Can Flopping Backfire During Soccer Games?

can flopping backfire during soccer games

Flopping during a soccer game can backfire in a few ways. First, the referee doesn’t need to call any foul, which means you leave your team at a defensive disadvantage. For example, a player might fall to the ground on some contact with an offensive player. They try and sell it that they are hurt, but the referee doesn’t think it is foul, and the offensive player has nobody defending them on the field, which can increase their chances of scoring.


Second, consistently going down on contact can lead to the referees not calling actual hard contact and fouls for you in future games. If you are a player that makes each bit of contact dramatic, referees might not call an actual foul on you because of your perception of looking for calls.


Can You Get a Yellow Card for Flopping?

can you get a yellow card for flopping

According to the Laws of the Game 12, deceiving a referee of an injury can lead to a yellow card. That means that if the player received another yellow card in a game, even if it is not for flopping, they now get a red card and leave the game altogether. 


Is Flopping Cheating in Soccer?

Flopping is not cheating in soccer. Cheating would be doing something like taking performance-enhancing drugs to improve a player’s ability on the pitch. Flopping is more about breaking the rules of conduct on the field, not cheating. 


Can an Incorrect Flop Call get Overturned in a Soccer Game?

Can an Incorrect Flop Call get Overturned in a Soccer Game

VAR is a new addition to soccer matches that brings tech to the great game. VAR stands for video assistant referee, and it helps review calls during soccer games with a team. You find VAR in professional soccer games like the World Cup that helps check any controversial calls that a referee might get incorrect during a match.


What Happens if You Flop and are Not Injured?

what happens if you flop and are not injured

If a soccer player pretends to have an injury but is not injured, a few things happen. First, the referee might not stop the action because they deem that a player is putting on a show, which means you give the other team a better scoring opportunity because a player is down on the ground, not playing.


Second, faking an injury can lead to a yellow card if it is a way to disrupt the game’s flow. Since the Laws of the Game don’t allow players to waste time on purpose, referees can give a yellow card to this offender, and if they already had a yellow card earlier in the game, now they receive a red card.


Third, respect between players on the opposing team diminishes if you try and flop your way to a competitive advantage. Players and fans want soccer games to be fair matches, so you don’t want to tarnish the game with this behavior.


Do Soccer Players Train to Flop?

do soccer players train to flop

Soccer teams and players don’t train how to flop during a game. However, there are instances where a player or a coach might encourage a player to drop if they feel that referees aren’t calling fouls or as a way to add more stoppage time to disrupt an opponent’s momentum.


Famous Flops

During the 2018 World Cup, Neymar Jr. made one of the most over-the-top flops in history. Neymar, who was on team Brazil, tumbled multiple times on the ground after a slide tackle by the opposing player. The multiple tumbles that the Brazilian player took quickly became a joke and meme for fans when they mentioned flopping in soccer.


Like Christiano Ronaldo and Messi, other players are also famous for flops. Since both of these players are well-known, some critics believe they can benefit from the doubt on specific calls, infuriating players and fans.


Conclusion: Why Do Soccer Players Flop?

In summary, flops have been around since the beginning days of soccer. Flopping is a way to gain a competitive advantage to either set up a penalty kick for your team, give a yellow card to an opposing player, or slow down the action. Getting a flop call can be a big momentum swing for your team as well.


However, flopping doesn’t guarantee that it will work for you and your team. A referee doesn’t need to call a flop even if you fall. If you go overboard with flopping, you can get a yellow card yourself since you are deliberating trying to stop the game’s action.


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