I didn't see the game in question so I can't comment on that game in particular. But as to your basic thrust, I think you have case to an extent. In the 70's the English game became dour, with many hatchet men taking out creative players, ruining careers. Change was necessary..
Well, as I mentioned, it is not just these Olympics, it is in the past 2 world cups as well.
Heavy criticism was levelled against Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
IHowever there is a feeling that the protection of creative players has gone too far and that hard but fair challenges are under threat in the game. A great tackle is as much a part of the game as a visionary pass, or moment of skill.
Where I originally come from, although we are more exposed to French football which favors more flair, we have always admired English football, because of its long passes that allow the traditional striker to fight for the ball in the air or on the ground.
It requires not only physical prowess, but also lot of creativity and improvisation and ability to stay on your feet by breaking tackles and challenges.
Rooney would be such a striker. Strong, eager, strong instinct to move forward between defenders and try to create something.
And Didier Drogba (borne in the same country as me ) , minus the dives, is another one.
We have a joke in Ivory Coast that if he had not grown up playing in Europe, he would not be diving as ,much. We think the Europeans made him soft
Rooney and Drogba are strong physical specimen with tremendous ability to create their own opportunity with sheer will and determination
All that has been killed off with nanny referees.
Pele, who was not an imposing figure by any mean, was able to break tackles w/o falling down.