England midfielder Jordan Henderson isn't a name many people would associate with play-acting, but he's divided opinion after going down from a headbutt by Colombia defender Wilmar Barrios in the teams’ World Cup last 16 game.
Henderson went down holding his face in the first-half of the game at Spartak Stadium after grappling with Colombia defender Wilmar Barrios as they jostled for position in the wall before an England free-kick.
Barrios planted his head into Henderson’s chest and then upwards into his face, causing the midfielder to go to ground.
The contact was definite and firm, and Barrios earned a yellow card for the indiscretion, which many firmly felt should have been a red by the letter of the law.
But others felt Henderson’s reaction in dropping to the deck was equally unbecoming, and was more reminiscent of the man who is currently most-maligned as football’s diver – Brazil star Neymar.
Jordan Henderson's been watching Neymar.— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) July 3, 2018
Imagine if Neymar reacted like Henderson did. The entire European media and the UN would be calling for him to be banned from football.— Zach (@ZCalcio) July 3, 2018
Henderson graduated from Neymar’s diving school— colombian af (@BeiingColombian) July 3, 2018
Love it how all those people slating Neymar are now screaming ‘penalty! Red!’ Henderson antics no different to Neymar— Matt Spiro (@mattspiro) July 3, 2018
God, I really hope Henderson doesn’t lose an eye from that ‘headbutt’. Oh, it seems like he’s fine now. Thought he might lose an eye. Because that’s what he was holding.— chris o'dowd (@BigBoyler) July 3, 2018
So did Henderson exaggerate the contact there when he fell like he was shot and then jumped up as soon as the ref came, or is it only when Neymar does it?— Zito (@_Zeets) July 3, 2018
Get up Henderson absolutely pathetic. Love the game but the antics are disgraceful.— Jonathan Davies OBE (@JiffyRugby) July 3, 2018
The apparent disapproval of Henderson's actions could perhaps be put down to the notion that England players are not normally associated with football's darker arts.
Others, including ex-England star and prominent TV pundit Gary Lineker, stuck to the fact that there was definite contact, and that Barrios appeared to have enjoyed a let-off that would have seen his team down to 10 men for most of the game.
Yellow card for a headbutt. You have to be kidding.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 3, 2018
Barrios headbutts Henderson but gets a yellow card. WTF?— Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) July 3, 2018
When did a head butt become a yellow card offense? Mark Geiger struggling to control this game. Wilmar Barrios clearly connects with Jordan Henderson's chest then chin. Bizarre decision from VAR/Geiger. #COL 0-0 #ENG #COLENG #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/axL36CwgSh— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) July 3, 2018