Would somebody – a sports writer, an official, anybody with some clout – please call it what it is. Cheating.

The World Cup has thrown up one of the best tournaments in living memory – and it's not over yet with quarters, semis and final to come. And yes, the third and fourth play-off too. Frankly it's cruel to make players take the field for a bronze-medal match nobody other than historians will care too much about. But I digress.

We've had upsets galore. Teams with great pedigree – eg Netherlands and Italy not even qualifying for the tournament – while others – Germany, Argentina, Portugal – all falling early and in the process sending home stars such as Messi and Ronaldo. Unthinkable.

I wish Neymar was added to that list.


The Brazilian superstar is everything that is wrong with the beautiful game.

Rolling around on the deck like he's been shot every five minutes is getting tedious.

Clearly he does it to milk a free kick or a penalty, and coerce the referee into issuing a yellow card to an opponent.

These are not "theatrics", as the world's press insists on calling them. It's cheating and Neymar needs to be shown a red card. Or worse. Kicking him out of the tournament would send the right message.

Fifa may wonder why rugby fans don't follow football or why, in New Zealand, Sky persists in running the world's biggest sport on lesser channels.

Here's picking it's because the game is riddled with Neymars – all throwing themselves to the turf the instant their ankles are tapped.

Fifa has done much to improve the game – goal-line technology and video assistant referees have more or less done a great job, for instance. But the Hollywood acting needs to go.

Cheating has become endemic and is regrattably part of the code's culture.


Next time Neymar dives I'm switching off.

Think I'd rather watch rugby. At least it's honest.