I have a 1.8 and 2.0 TS. both engines have the same fault - The big ends have around 2cm on lateral play, but none up and down. There is no perceiveable damage to the crankshaft on the 2.0. No scoring, no marks and the bearings did not look in bad condition when removed.
I have heard there may be some shims to take up the play but can find no evidence of their being any there.
Yep the con rods sliding allong the crank journals is normal, is is the up and down play that is bad for the shells, when they start to wear then you get a dull grey mark on them, that will expand until they start to knock, at which point the crank will at least need a regrind.