Whatever tonight's result, this World Cup will be remembered for the sheer volume of diving. Sepp Blatter's clampdown never emerged, although news that he dived a bit himself as a player did, by way of a CNN documentary. So, apart from Portugal winning the Jacques Cousteau Team Award, who were the fall guys? Here's a selection in, er, descending order.
10 Pauleta (v France)
Frustrated by his Rooney role of lone striker, Pauleta hyper-ventilated as a rare chance came. He moved on to a ball played into the box when, inconveniently, a French defender removed it. Pauleta ran on for a yard, realised he did not have the ball and speared himself to the ground. Verdict: 20 per cent despair, 80 per cent simulation.
9 Arjen Robben (v Portugal)
An Amsterdam taxi-driver told me about his love for the films of Norman Wisdom, and ended up shouting "Mr Grimsdale!" as he dropped me at Schiphol Airport. This was clearly Robben's dad, for nobody else in football replicates Wisdom's rubber-legged antics better than the Dutch winger/whinger. He didn't achieve anything as derisory as the fall in the Premiership game against Liverpool, when he suggested that keeper Jose Reina was wearing George Foreman boxing gloves. But the abiding image is of his arms-raised, wild-eyed grimace, appealing to the ref after yet another tumble.
8 Thierry Henry (v Portugal)
Our beloved Thierry, in the Top 10? Well, he was kicked on the shin by Ricardo Carvalho a yard inside the box, so it was a penalty. But the Arsenal Thierry would have stayed on his feet and scored. The French Thierry decided that the referee needed more visual clues, so twisted his back, threw up his arms and plunged to the turf as though caught in a bear trap.
7 Helder Postiga (v France)
The Portuguese substitute wins a Gold UV Pen, the Invisible Marker Award, for his mysterious fall in the match against France. As the ball is played in he misses it completely, then tries to conceal his error and win a free-kick by tumbling down. Laughably bad, because there was nobody near him. Does he see little green men in his bathroom?
6 Miroslav Klose (v Sweden)
Klose wins the Jürgen Klinsmann Memorial Award and his place in the Top 10 for the "I've just been electrocuted" star-jump to suggest that the Swedish midfielder Teddy Lucic had blocked his run. Lucic barely touched him, but Klose's antics ensured the Swede's second yellow. As for the final, it was Klose but no cigar.
5 Mark van Bommel (v Portugal)
Wins the Fred Dibnah Award for impersonating one of the late demolition man's falling chimneys after being head-butted by Luis Figo. The Dutch midfielder is as hard as Gouda, so Figo's attempt at a "Scottish kiss" should have been laughed off. But this was a game that Don King could have promoted, so Van Bommel was adapting to the misrule. Failed, though, to get Figo a red.
4 Cristiano Ronaldo (v France)
Everyone's favourite for the No 1 spot, but his efforts were so histrionic that they qualify for the Wayne Sleep Award. His worst came when he copied the goal celebration of Blackburn's Shefki Kuqi by belly-flopping in pursuit of a penalty, despite no contact being made. If he doesn't get his move to Real Madrid he will face a tougher time in the Premiership - defenders' logic says: "If I'm going to get a yellow for not touching him, I might as well get one for kicking him."
3 Thierry Henry (v Spain)
Mais non? We all saw it, however, the collision between Henry and Carles Puyol. Difficult to say who actually took out whom, but Thierry did his "not my face, not my face" number from EastEnders when shoulder-to-shoulder contact was made. So he wins the Ross Kemp Award - there was a bit of previous with Puyol from the Champions' League final. "They kicked me but I don't fall down, I am not a girl," Henry said at the time. Needing a goal to finish Spain proved too tempting.
2 Asamoah Gyan (v Brazil)
Sympathy for the Ghana lad, because he was one of the few players actually to be booked for diving, inside an uninhabited Brazilian penalty area, earning his second yellow. Wins the Greg Louganis Award for Self-Inflicted Wounds. A victim of the referees' tendency to penalise Africans, Asians and Eastern Euro-peans more harshly than the "Big Names".
1 Fabio Grosso (v Australia)
With extra time looming, the Italian's run into the Australian box looked doomed until he saw Lucas Neill lying around like Sir Les Patterson on a Sunday morning. Instead of hurdling the Aussie, Grosso trailed his legs and went over to claim a match-winning penalty. Redeemed himself with a classy display of genuine football against Germany, including his goal. But Grosso misconduct wins top spot.Reuse content