The World Cup Gets Physical: The Worst Flops And Best Crunching Tackles So Far

When in doubt, take the body.

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. 

Luka Modric stops a counter — is he a No. 10 or a No. 99 a la J.J. Watt?

Tunisia solve the Harry Kane problem.

It was easy to cheer for Iran against Morocco until it really wasn’t. 

Luis Suarez going postal. Some things never change. 

 Neymar isn’t acting here, he’s just getting absolutely crushed. 

Alisson vs. Balloon (one of our favorite parts of Brazil vs. Switzerland).

Hector Herrera with a crunching tackle on Sami Khedira, setting up Mexico’s glorious counter. Herrera was a revelation all game.

The body goes up, the body goes down. The spine feels the pressure, the spine breaks in half. 

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.

Dries Mertens gets crunched by Gaia, the primal Mother Earth goddess. 

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