That was a dive. No doubt about it. Grosso is a fecking cheat. That was not a fair end to the game.
I hate teams that progress by cheating. It turns me off, watching the beautiful game ruined by these CHEATS! They did not deserve the penalty. They did not deserve to win. They do not deserve to be in the quarter-finals. I'd even like to propose a ban on Italy for the nest World Cup. This kind of desperate attempt in a game they clearly could not win is ugly and puts the game in bad repute. FIFA needs to come down harder on such teams. Especially if the referee fails to make the correct decision on the pitch.
What's the point of having a referee and two linsemen if their eyes aren't open? This incident proves that football *needs* a fourth official, like the replay officials in rugby and cricket. Who knows what the referee was thinking... Perhaps he was trying to make up for his bad decision in sending off the alleged "last man".
This World Cup is turning out to be the worst in terms of refereeing decisions. The referees have been put under immense pressure to come down hard on foul play. But some have been excessively harsh, yet some turn a blind eye. Lack of consistency makes it unfair on teams. And many of the referees look out of their depth, either lacking competency or just feeling the heat (literally and figuratively). The end result, whatever reason for the bad refereeing: ruined football.
What makes me even more mad is that the ESPN commentators here are saying the penalty was deserved, and in fact, was even "good play". I don't think American soccer players, coaches and analysts *get* the point of football. They think that hard, professional fouls are a necessity if the other team looks threatening. They think diving is good tactics. (Or maybe it's just that the clueless ESPN commentators are total fuckwits. Don't wish to tar all Americans with the same *dirty* brush.)