MLS- D.C. United

Morning Ticker: N'Gog dives Liverpool to draw, Zlatan ponders Sweden retirement and more

David N'Gog (Getty Images)


Liverpool midfielder David N'Gog may have salvaged his club from losing against Birmingham on Monday, but he did so with one of the most highly-criticized dives in recent memory.

With Birmingham shockingly leading the hosts 2-1 in the second half, N'Gog dribbled into the penalty area before being brought down by midfielder Lee Carsley's sliding challenge. With a penalty kick awarded, Steven Gerrard calmly equalized, earning Liverpool a result for just the second time in their last five league games.

Replays, however, clearly showed Carsley never made contact, and N'Gog dove to earn the call.

The dive is currently under immense criticism, with some British newspapers labeling N'Gog a cheat.

Here are some more stories to help get your Tuesday started:

Ibrahimovic considering international retirement

Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be calling it quits on his international career.

According to new Sweden national team manager Erik Hamren, Ibrahimovic declined a call-up for the Swedish's upcoming friendly against Italy, and is doubtful to have a future with the national team. Hamren also said he will not be call up the 28-year-old, who is enjoying a strong first season with FC Barcelona, until Ibrahimovic has made up his mind.

Since making his debut in 2001, Ibrahimovic has 60 caps and 22 goals for Sweden. Sweden failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, finishing in third place of UEFA's Group one, behind Denmark and Portugal.

Cole sidelined with fractured tibia

Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has been sidelined indefinitely after being diagnosed with a fractured tibia.

Cole originally suffered the injury in Champions League action on Oct. 21, but the left back aggravated the nick before Sunday's 1-0 win over Manchester United, where he started and played 90 minutes.

James out three-four months

D.C. United has not had the kindest of offseasons thus far, but the club received some good news on the injury front.

Defender Julius James underwent successful shoulder surgery on Monday, and is expected to be out three to four months. That timeframe means James could be available when D.C. United kicks off the 2010 campaign against the Kansas City Wizards on March 27.

James played in 14 games, starting in 13 of them, and scored one goal in all competitions for D.C. United this season.


Is N'Gog's dive a disgrace to soccer, or just another dive? Think Ibrahimovic should retire from international soccer? How will Cole's injury affect Chelsea? Expect James to be ready for D.C. United's 2010 season opener?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Peter

    I always made it my business to accidentally step on a crotch when that type of challenge came in on me. That type of Rugby mentality is why the Premier league is unwatchable. I love the quote “be a man and take the contact”. If you want to dish it, you have to be able to take it.

    I never understood the penchant for diving in the latino cultures either,it seems to violate the whole machismo ideal. I did have success getting under their skin by asking if they got their sisters panties dirty when they fell.


  • Joamiq

    A few corrections. First, they are even with Man City as far as odds to finish 4th. You can check the books if you want. Secondly, Tottenham has been playing without Lennon and Modric and is still in the top 4, so I’m not sure where you’re getting that argument from. Tottenham without Lennon and Modric is far better than Liverpool without Gerrard and Torres. Third, saying that Man City is not top 4 quality because of a couple of results is, frankly, dumb. You could just as easily argue that Liverpool is not top four quality because they had to cheat just to draw Birmingham at home.


  • Brent McD

    Diving is a plague on modern soccer. Players and coaches both know it’s a way to win games, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if teams actually work on diving in practice. FIFA needs to immediately institute multiple-game suspensions and steep fines for diving based upon post-match video review. Otherwise next summer’s World Cup will surely be tainted just as 2006 was by the flopping Italians (their late PK against the Aussies was shameless).

    BTW, our own USMNT is certainly not blameless in this matter. Landon and Duece have both become master floppers, to the team’s benefit. Sickening to watch the beautiful game degenerate via such cynical tactics.


  • Joamiq

    Reading through these comments, I am STUNNED at the amount of people defending Ngog and attacking Carsley. Liverpool fans, I guess. Neither you nor I know what would have happened had the play continued normally. We don’t know because Ngog made the decision to dive before anything could have happened. End of story.


  • Compelling Soccer

    From the FIFA rule book:

    A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any
    of the following seven offences in a manner considered by the referee to be
    careless, reckless or using excessive force:
    – kicks or attempts to kick an opponent
    – trips or attempts to trip an opponent
    – jumps at an opponent
    – charges an opponent
    – strikes or attempts to strike an opponent
    – pushes an opponent
    – tackles an opponent
    A direct free kick is also awarded to the opposing team if a player commits any
    of the following three offences:
    – holds an opponent
    – spits at an opponent
    – handles the ball deliberately (except for the goalkeeper within his own
    penalty area)
    A direct free kick is taken from the place where the offence occurred
    (see Law 13 – Position of Free Kick).


    The penalty section goes on to say any of those offenses are a penalty if committed in the box.

    Key there is “trip or attempt to trip”. He doesn’t have to get the man for it to be a foul. If the referee deems it a late challenge with intent to trip, then it’s a foul and penalty. He was late, didn’t get the ball, so Carsley left it up to the ref’s judgement. He put himself in a bad position and got burned.

    In interest of total disclosure, yeah, I’m a Liverpool fan. But I showed the tackle to a Leicester City fan who hates the Reds and he thought it was a stupid challenge by Carsley that could have easily gone either way. And had a penalty been given against Jamie Carragher a few weeks ago against Man U, I’d have had no arguments with that decision either. You go to ground in the box and you’re asking for trouble.


  • K Bone

    Well said Joamiq, I don’t see how his “logic” doesn’t also apply to Liverpool. As a neutral (which I’m not) I would probably assume based on results this season that Liverpool is certainly not a favorite for the top 4. Just because it’s Liverpool doesn’t mean anything, they quite frankly are a mediocre team without Torres and Gerrard and are so more reliant on them then Tottenham or City are with their stars…


  • Patrick

    This is the 1 facet of the game where soccer could use instant replay. Here me out…

    There is already a delay in the game when a penalty kick is called. There is a good minute and a half to two minutes delay between the call and the penalty kick. There is also already a 3rd official on the sideline. Set up a replay screen for him. The third official immediately reviews all penalty kick calls for obvious dives. If replay clearly shows a player took a dive- as this one does- the player is issued a red card and the opposing team is issued a free kick from the spot of the foul.

    No delay in the game and diving is not rewarded. Win-win. Put it in place, it’s a no-brainer.


  • Jamie Z.

    I hereby move to have every footballer who comes from a Romance language-speaking country take an obligatory no-diving course before they are allowed to play another competitive match.


  • John

    In England this is a big deal. He dove to decieve the referee. Simulation…What else do you need to know? He won’t be getting too many more calls after this one. Only Wayne Rooney (and Ronaldo before the left)get those in England.


  • brentmcd

    I like this idea. Except the 3rd official might be already too occupied watching the action on the field (post-foul pushing and shoving, etc.). Perhaps use a 4th official upstairs in a replay booth monitoring video of the match in headset radio contact with the main referee.

    I agree the game would not be lengthened. There is already a significant delay for Penalties. And the decision to award / not award a penalty is too important in determining the outcome of matches and tournaments to not take advantage of the available technology.


  • Cavan

    Um, 4th official?

    As a former referee, I spotted two distinct elements in that incident that scream “dive.”

    1) the player threw his hands up before hitting the ground. Divers do this to try to sell the dive and to brace their fall. No player who doesn’t know he’s going to hit the ground throws their hands up over their head.

    2) he had just tapped the ball too far in front of himself to be assured control of it. Since the other defender was closing in on the ball, he didn’t have much space to do anything with. A dive usually comes when a forward’s goal-scoring chances are deteriorating.

    When watching the clip, I thought that it was from a referee instructional video. I saw many very similar clips during my training. I also saw many very similar situations out on the field, just not as fast since they were amateurs rather than pros.

    There is nothing defensible about this play. It gives the game a bad name and undermines its viability to fans. This kind of behavior chips away at soccer’s viability as a true athletic competition and inches it closer to the theatrics of professional wrestling. I doubt most soccer fans want that. The Liverpool fans should be ashamed of this just like everyone else. Who cares if your team cheated to a draw if it kills the game itself?


  • smokeminside

    Folks, I get all the vitriol, from both sides. What I don’t understand is why THIS dive (or whatever you want to call it) is getting so much attention when it happens all the time. Is there something in particular about N’Gog that encourages this kind of attention? Is it that Liverpool is an easy target because of its rough year?

    I hate diving as much as the next guy, but right now–and maybe forever– it’s part of the game (like the phantom double play in baseball, or pretending to get hit by a pitch).


  • Jake Oliver

    Obviously it simulation, but why on earth did Carsley slide in to make that tackle in the first place? Ngog had taken a heavy tough and the centerback coming across (Johnson) would have been able to deal with it.

    As for Ibrahimovic, I’m not a fan of players going into an early international retirement.


  • nate

    I think it’s because they’re talentless losers. What self-respecting forward admits (by diving) that he doesn’t have the skill to score on his own? If I were a coach I would immediately dump any player that resorts to diving instead of, you know, actually playing soccer.


  • advocat

    I will take Ngogs side. I will always take the creative attacking players side. By the logic put forth, Ngog should have landed his right foot on the ground in stride so that the bald defender slide tackle would have broken his ankle or torn his ligaments. did the defender touch the ball? No or barely so. So he missed. The defender screwed up; next time he should stay on his feet and lesson larned. The tackle was so mis timed and inappropriate he missed the ball completely; this is considered good soccer? good for the game? I dont think it is fair or good for the game to ask the forward attacking player to subject himself to horrific injury (remember eduardo almost had a leg amputation last season). But no one remembers or cares about that.


  • advocat

    Before the “no diving” proposal, I propose a “no mis-timed tackle aimed to break legs and ruin the game” proposal. Who is guiltier of simulation Ngog or the defender? The defender missed the ball; so what was he trying to do? I say he was trying to break his legs.


  • Supsam

    To me i dont care if the attempted tackle was late, what ever happened to honor these days?? Sure there is a chance you dont score if you continue the play, but at the end of the day how can you face your kids who asks you why you faked contact?

    However this horrible dive plus Eduardo’s has made dives way more scrutinized than in the past and thats a good thing. So for future divers out there, get ready to face the shameful spotlight


  • roysterer

    Carsley did not miss the ball by very much. I think it was pretty obvious that he was going for the ball. But, when Ngog decided to jump over him, he didn’t know that he would miss the ball. Nevertheless he decided to dive in that state of mind, and that’s just as bad as any other dive.

    If you’re a player who has been incorrectly awarded a foul and you know it, you should inform the referee that there was no foul. That’s just good sportsmanship, and although it never happens, I will still expect it to happen.


  • japan

    You’re point on Tottenham is fair. I disagree that Tottenham without Lennon and Modric is far better than Liverpool without Gerrard adn Torres. You can see that Tottenham is starting to go downhill though. Man City has been bad for awhile now. If it wasn’t for thier honeymoon period in teh beginning, tehy wouldn’t be where they are. Yes, you can argue the same with Liverpool but they are in bad form. They are more capable than this. Tottenham and City are not. Liverpool are still the favourtes the same way Arseanl were the favorites last year instead of Villa.


  • japan

    True, so when Torres and Gerrard are back, you do admit they have a better chance then Tottenham and City.

    Wait until Feburary and you will see a difference. If all 3 teams are still tight, I will gladly eat my word.


  • Galaxy G

    You are quite wrong.

    This tackle was not even close to being on par with the Eduardo incident. N’Gog’s foot wasn’t planted as Carsley passes through. He could have easily continued on with that front foot because the only place I see possible contact is if he would have tried bringing his back foot forward which may have brushed Carsley but in no way put N’Gog in a position to be seriously injured.

    Because N’Gog is a cheat and took the easy way out, we’ll never know what that would have looked like.


  • span

    There it is…revisionist history Anglo style. The precious Aussies had a man advantage for 40+ minutes due to a harsh red on Materazzi because Bresciano dove (remember that? didn’t think so). Despite the extra man, the weak ass Aussies didn’t threaten the goal. The foul on Grosso did involve contact…so there WAS a foul (even though Fifa rules don’t require contact).

    Do you remember Henry’s dive in the final to earn France’s PK?


  • span

    Sorry…is N’Gog from a “romance” language country? I hereby move to have Anglo football fans take an obligatory course in xenophobia.


  • span

    KIND SIR…Wayne Rooney does not dive because he is Engerlish. How dare you insult the Queen!!!!!


  • r.benjamin

    Bigtime dive and worse than most. They really need to stamp this out of the game. I really hoped after the 06 cup they’d make progress but apparently not.

    If he truelly tried to avoid contact and went down, I can see, but he launched himself.


  • ddub

    it’s a complete dive. It’s a shame and i hope it’s wiped from the game.

    And his penalty should be NOTHING! Just like the diver Eduardo.

    The precedence has been set. It’s a shame but now that Eduardo is allowed to dive i don’t see it fair to punish Ngog. And it’s all the powers of football’s fault for not having the balls to enforce their own rules evenly.


  • Joamiq

    Are you kidding? Going downhill? Based on what? Their easy win last weekend? Compare Spurs’ record since Modric went down, a period during which Defoe and Lennon have also missed time, with Liverpool’s since their stars went injured. Spurs have been better. The fact of the matter is that you don’t know what Liverpool, or Spurs or City, are capable of. This is not last year’s Liverpool team. This year’s version looks woefully weak. And if you think they’re getting through the rest of the season without their depth being tested again, good luck.


  • japan

    Here is Tottenham’s record in the league this season. WWWWLLWDWLLW. They have won 3 of their last 8. Yes, 3 of those losses came against Man Utd, Chelsea,and Arsenal and I know you don’t have to beat the big teams to win the title but they were hammered in all these games. They were not even close. Modric got hurt after the 4th game (went on their site to check). So without Modric, thier record is 3-4-1. Now lets take Man City. WWWWLWWDDDDD. Quiet obvious they have been poor lately so I am not basing this on 2 games I mentioned earlier. Now both Tottenham and Man City have made the best start ever and have been playing better than they’ve ever played. Now lets take Liverpool. They have had the worst start in over a decade and are in the worst form in 40 years or something. Yet, they are still only 3pts behind Tottenham and 1pt behind Man City who has a game in hand. I agree, I don’t know what Spurs or City are capable of but surley you don’t expect Liverpool to keep this form for the rest of the season.


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