by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (June 24th 2013)
Atlético de Madridʼs Diego Godínʼs 81st minute winner put Uruguay into the last 16, almost certainly to face fellow South Americans Colombia. The story should have been about their performance, but it wonʼt be. FIFA will examine footage of an incident two minutes earlier as Liverpoolʼs Luis Suárez and Juventusʼ Giorgio Chiellini clashed.
Both should have been dismissed, but the fall-out is likely to be far more serious as Suárez appeared to bite Chiellini. If the footage confirms it it will be the third time Suárez has bitten a fellow player and will surely lead to a very lengthy ban. Chiellini certainly believed that Suárez had bitten him and tried to show the officials his shoulder.
“It was ridiculous not to send Suárez off for biting me”, Chiellini said to RAI TV, but the Méxican referee Marco Rodríguez Moreno was unmoved by Chielliniʼs attempt to show him the bite marks.
FIFA will investigate further. If confirmed as seems likely Suárez will miss the rest of the World Cup and face further sanction. FIFAʼs Disciplinary Code allows it to be reviewed and its maximum sanctions are 24 matches or a 2 year ban, even though the harshest punishment imposed in a World Cup was the disgraceful elbow in the face of Spainʼs Luis Enrique by Italyʼs Mauro Tassotti in 1994.
It would be the third time that Suárez has bitten a player. In 2010, while playing for Ajax he was banned for seven matches for biting PSV Eindhovenʼs Otman Bakkal. Last year the FA banned Suárez for 10 matches for biting Chelseaʼs Branislav Ivanović. He missed the start of the season and then played so well that he became the Player of the Year and deservedly so.
Italy began the match needing just a draw to progress to the last 16. Despite rough treatment of Mario Balotelli – he was withdrawn at half time – Italy were inn pole position until just before the hour mark. Claudio Marchisio was shown a straight red card for a studs up challenge that connected with Edigio Árevalo Ríos shin. Italians protested vociferously, but it made no difference.
They held on until two minutes after the bite Gastón Ramírez Pereyra crossed for Godín to powerfully head across Gianluigi Buffon – advantage Uruguay. They held on to set up a last 16 clash against the winners of Group C. Italyʼs second consecutive elimination in the first round proved too much for coach Cesare Prandelli. He resigned immediately after the match.