Rafa Benitez: We now know English players dive too but the embarrassment produced when caught out by television will cause it to die out

Don't forget that players are people, too. They don't like TV to show them cheating

There is never a week without a controversy in the Premier League, is there? I do not see as many of your games as I would like because there is a very big job to do for me here in Napoli, but it was easy to notice that the diving story became something everybody was talking about a lot, after Ashley Young won a penalty for Manchester United in San Sebastian against Real Sociedad.

One incident can mean a lot of talking! The analysis is always very detailed in England. I remember when I was at Liverpool and our player David Ngog won a penalty at Anfield to make a draw against Birmingham City. It is always important to be honest about these things because people see the reality in front of them. I think I said that night – it was four years ago – that it was a wrong decision to give us the penalty. My approach with a situation like this is not always to talk to the player. Just one time and it is normal; no need to make a big point perhaps. But more than once – yes, have a word and make it clear how it can reflect on the reputation of him and, more importantly, the club.

I can see that everyone is saying it must be stopped and I think that is a positive thing, but before everyone starts thinking about a lot of new solutions – like penalising players with video evidence – we must remember one of the big things that has changed since I started managing. The cameras. They are everywhere now. Every angle and tackle and free-kick is replayed and replayed – and it means that the player who dives cannot hide. He will be embarrassed because the dive is played on TV, again and again and again.

Don't forget that players are people, too. They don't like the television to show them cheating in clips which go up maybe 10 times a day. So I think that will be the solution to any problem with diving.

We must still say that the debate is a positive thing, though. Diving is a bad way to win an advantage which no one likes. I'm not totally convinced that there is more diving than in the past but we are seeing a culture in England which hates diving. It has become a campaign, which is good.

But my last word is that the rules apply to everyone. People tend to complain more about the foreign players diving and say that they do it more. But I don't see it that way. The English players do it, too, and there is nothing worse for a manager than feeling that some players and some teams are not getting the same treatment as all the rest. The number of referees' assistants these days means that the diving should be seen and dealt with on the spot. But if they miss it then the supporters, who are able to see things more times than anyone, will not. Human nature then takes over. Don't forget that players, just like everyone else, want to be respected and to be liked.

Italy are making progress – with a more mature Mario

It is a while since we talked about the Italian national team here and if you watch them play Germany at San Siro tonight – an excellent fixture for the football enthusiast – you may see how they have developed as a good side under Cesare Prandelli since we discussed them before the European Championship quarter-final against England in Kiev last year.

One of the reasons Italy are a very good team is because tactically they know how to adapt to a lot of different systems. Plenty of Cesare's team play in Serie A, where they are used to playing teams who have three, four or five at the back and who chase quickly. Perhaps you remember how we talked a few weeks ago about how the systems can change a lot during and between games and you need to have the technical and tactical component to cope. The Italy players have that and it is why I think they could do better in Brazil than some people expect.

Mario Balotelli may start the game for Cesare in Milan tonight – there is still a little bit of uncertainty about Giuseppe Rossi, who has been playing well for Fiorentina. If he does, you will see a player who has developed since he was at Manchester City, when everyone in England was either talking or writing about him! Off the pitch, you don't see as many stories in the press and that's not because no one wants to know in Italy. He is a bit more mature. On the pitch, he has improved because as a striker in Italy you have to think always about how to attack against, let us say, a line of three or a line of four. The time in Manchester will have helped, with the experience it gave him. He can make mistakes like anyone but he has learnt things.

Who else should we be looking at this weekend? We always think the African teams can do well at the World Cup and they really could be a threat this time. Look out for Ivory Coast playing Senegal on Saturday. Gervinho, who has to me looked a better player at Roma than he was at Arsenal, was important for them when they beat Senegal 3-1 in the first game and now they play again.

Vicente del Bosque's Spain team have not dropped at all from their usual level because of the style of football they are so familiar with now. I know they have two long trips to play Equatorial Guinea on Saturday and then South Africa, because I would prefer Pepe Reina and Raul Albiol were not travelling that distance. Some of the Spanish players have been telling me about playing Brazil in the Confederations Cup. They were talking about the big, big intensity of the team and the crowd in the Maracana. Everyone will be having dreams of doing great things next summer but Brazil are a big, big challenge. It won't be easy for anyone.

Managing a national side could be the biggest test of all

People say would you like to be an international manager, one day? And I reply, why not? Obviously, as a manager at the moment I like to be involved on a daily basis, with the training sessions and games, but in the future perhaps it will happen. It would also be interesting to be on the other side of the conversations about which players clubs have to lose to the international games. I have 16 of my Napoli players in internationals next week and that bit of it doesn't get any easier for me. A national role is a very good test, though. What qualities do you need? You obviously don't have very much time to train with the players and when they arrive with you they are used to playing in a different way. You have to be very careful with your team selection, approach and system. In some ways it seems like the biggest test of all. But for now, there is plenty to think about: Parma, Borussia Dortmund and Lazio before I write next. More on our progress next time.

general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before