This one is a cliche of American soccer writing, but it still hurts to watch. It took all of thirty seconds in the Italy-Paraguay match before an Italian midfielder made a half-hearted run at the box encountered a slight bit of conflict, and initiated the Classic Soccer Dive procedure. This involves carving a bit of space away from the defender -- how else is the ref to see your agony? -- and then launching one's body into the air, arms and chest bursting outwards like a distended accordion, before tumbling several several times over on the pitch, and clutching at all sorts of different places in the general vicinity of one leg. (It took Cristiano Ronaldo 5 minutes to do this in the Ivory Coast game, and he was rewarded with a free kick on the edge of the box). If you really want to keep track, Slate has started up an entertaining feature called "Dive of the Day," which begins with a particularly egregious collapse by (guess who?) Italy's Daniele de Rossi.
The diving is a problem, but for me, it's the writhing that really rankles. Can't they at least pick one specific body part that is feeling their pretend pain? "My knee!" "My ankle!" "My...calf-shin-thigh!" I want to see some more purposeful squirming, damn it.
To be honest, though, the writhing hasn't been quite as blatant in this tournament as Cups past, so I'm not putting it at the top of the list. Later on I'll consider some of the dispiriting moments more specifically characteristic of 2010... And feel free to nominate your own in the comments. The Iron List will always welcome your bitching.