The "flopping" World Cup

Cape Town - Rolling around on the floor in agony like you've been shot by a sniper. Welcome to the "flopping" World Cup.

It is every soccer fan's (and those who don't like the game too) biggest gripe, after biting opponents that is, the amount of play-acting and generally cry-babying that goes on in the effort to:

a) earn a penalty
b) get your opponent sent off
c) get a free kick
d) pretend you're Cristiano Ronaldo
e) all the of the above

If FIFA could rule out this unnecessary part of the game then soccer would truly be able to claim to be "the beautiful game".

The Wall Street Journal has done the maths, so you don't have to. The results are shocking.

Imagine the research that goes into recording every time a grown man falls to the floor for no reason at all? Everyone time it looks like a player might just be forced to retire to injury and then he springs up?

Or my personal favourite, the time a player - usually a striker - goes down in a heap clutching his ankle (I'm usually shouting "it was the other ankle Robin!!!"), the stretcher comes on and all of a sudden Van Persie, I mean the player, springs up and carries on player like nothing ever happened. 

You've heard of the Golden Boot but here are the "Golden Stretcher Awards": 

The Team Most Commonly Seen in Anguish: Brazil 

17 incidents in two games. Are you even trying to stay upright?

Neymar had five such "injuries" where his was up and running after within 15 seconds. 

The Overall Writhing-Time Champions: Honduras 

Seven minutes and 40 seconds. That's how long the Hondurian players spent getting better acquainted with the team doctors and the "magic spray".  

The Team Most Likely to Grin and Bear it: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Finally a tournament where coming stone last means something. Well played Bosnia, well played. 

The Team With the Most Carnage in One Game: Chile 

During the course of ending Spanish dreams, the Chileans tallied 11 "injuries"  which is more than 24 other teams had in two games. 

The Fastest "Injury" Yet: Enner Valencia (Ecuador) 

When Honduras faced Ecuador, Enner Valencia was on the ground, clutching his leg after four seconds.

Worst Use of a Stretcher: 5 players (we won't name and shame them) 

Of the nine players carried off in the SWC matches, five returned and all in less than 90 seconds.

Here's what the official research had to say about the countries, their injuries and total writhing time.

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