Heading into the tournament in Russia, we always knew we’d get a nice mixture of both godawful dives and crunching, I-put-the-country-on-my-back tackles. The super slow mo doesn’t do the sport any favors (everything looks like an overreaction when you slow things down to a million frames per second), but we’ve definitely seen some gloriously physical play mixed with some heinous play acting.
Here’s a selection of our favorite dives and crunches from the opening matches at the 2018 World Cup.
2018 World Cup Dives And Crunching Tackles
Iran’s Omid Ebrahimi with a “Nainggolan” tackle. Beautiful.
I cannot get over this superb tackle by Omid Ebrahimi in #Iran's @FIFAWorldCup match against #Morocco. Brave, determined, and persistent. Ebrahimi was the man of the match in my opinion. #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/z1223Dr244— Reza H. Akbari (@rezahakbari) June 16, 2018
Luka Modric stops a counter — is he a No. 10 or a No. 99 a la J.J. Watt?
This is better than most DB’s tackle... #CRO #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/DogVxHzkm9— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) June 16, 2018
Tunisia solve the Harry Kane problem.
ENGLAND ROBBED! Tunisian defender lands a wrestling takedown on Harry Kane and VAR has missed it! pic.twitter.com/80xqV28wi2— World Cup (@FlFAWC2018) June 18, 2018
It was easy to cheer for Iran against Morocco until it really wasn’t.
The limb better literally not be attached to your body if you're gonna pull this... pic.twitter.com/OTMIJlAHBD— SoccerGirlProblems® (@SoccerGrlProbs) June 17, 2018
Luis Suarez going postal. Some things never change.
Luis Suarez back to his best. Overacting!!!! pic.twitter.com/UarzAnU0pp— Nabeel Hashmi (@HashmeNabeel) June 15, 2018
Neymar isn’t acting here, he’s just getting absolutely crushed.
LOOOOOOOOOOOLLL just look at neymar get bodied #worldcup pic.twitter.com/7eTOiCBGZg— Nabeel (@_nabzali) June 17, 2018
Alisson vs. Balloon (one of our favorite parts of Brazil vs. Switzerland).
Good technique by Alisson to pop the large balloon that was on the pitch.#BRASUI #BRAxSUI #Brazil #BRA pic.twitter.com/zDxT75zm0r— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) June 17, 2018
Hector Herrera with a crunching tackle on Sami Khedira, setting up Mexico’s glorious counter. Herrera was a revelation all game.
-WHAT A TACKLE by Hector Herrera tracking back
-Great recognition and pass out of the back by H. Moreno
-Terrific link-up play by ChicharitoThey're well seasoned in top European club football. A tiny picture of why players must push to the highest levelspic.twitter.com/URKGT3m4EC
— Ben Fast (@bwfast) June 18, 2018
The body goes up, the body goes down. The spine feels the pressure, the spine breaks in half.
When you whiff in front of the whole world, you immediately fake an injury. Have to. Respect the move. pic.twitter.com/qH6ER0Rxtb— James Garofalo (@jag32009) June 15, 2018
Lucas Hernandez, who admits to exaggerating and wasting time to help France defeat the vaunted Socceroos of Australia, does a bit of exaggerating and time wasting.
Hey @doug987FM I know you like a good World Cup dive, I give this one an 8.1 #AusVFra #WorldCup18 pic.twitter.com/K7VKltolhz— Chris (@UKcardsfan) June 18, 2018
Dries Mertens gets crunched by Gaia, the primal Mother Earth goddess.
Hilarious dive from Mertens. pic.twitter.com/6Y2nUp06nY— James Haire (@HeyGiroud) June 18, 2018