You've not been a part of the sport in any organized way, then. I'm certainly not saying that your average player goes onto the pitch looking for someone to maim, but even when I was a kid playing in piddly school leagues in Ireland, our coach would instruct some of our bigger lads to issue "reducers" on players we felt were a threat, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the practice still goes on to this day. It's gotten a lot better than what it was - when a goalkeeper who caught a cross, could then be kicked into his own net and have the goal stand. Sly studs down the back of the achilles, a sneaky elbow to the face, a misplaced boot when vaulting over a player, leaving the studs up just a little bit... none of it is aimed to ending a career, but certainly to slow an opponent down. If they have to go off, all the better. Even if managerial instructions aren't given, players will do their utmost to get whatever advantage they can in a match. Case in point that game - even if Coleman and O'Neil didn't send players out with instructions to "do whatever it takes", the players started taking it upon themselves based on what they could get away with. Bale's cruncher on O'Shea was nowhere near the ball, and his studs were about two feet off the ground. McClean elbowed Joe Allen in the throat, clear as day. And then the tackle on Coleman which - I'm sorry, but watch the thing again, and if you come back with "ahh one of those things that happens in a scrappy game" then I'll call a load of bollocks - it was a fucking HORROR tackle, going in hard like that on a ball he had NO chance of winning.