Uruguay progressed to the last 16 of the World Cup on Tuesday, disposing of 10-man Italy in Natal, with the aftermath of the match centering on the actions of one Luis Suarez, who minutes before the winning goal, bit defender Giorgio Chiellini in what has become yet another sensational controversy involving the Liverpool striker.
Suarez, the two-goal hero for Uruguay in the last match against England, went for Chiellini when the pair collided in the box during a late Uruguay attack. While video evidence had proved to be inconclusive immediately after the incident, which saw Suarez go down in a heap clutching his face, his Italian victim soon set the record straight by pulling down his shirt and revealing clear teeth marks on his shoulder.
It was a horrifically sad tangent to the second half, which was dramatic enough without Suarez’s childish attempts to disable his opponent, with Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin, a real hero of this Uruguay side, smashing in an 81st minute header to break Italian hearts, and send his side through to the last 16.
It was a bad-tempered affair all round, with the referee blowing for multiple stoppages as the game lacked real tempo or flow. The turning point of the match came with the sending off of Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who was dismissed for a studs-up challenge on Egidio Arévalo, with Uruguay then with a man advantage for the best part of half an hour in the Estádio das Dunas.
Suarez, before his incredible misdemeanor, almost put his side ahead soon after, but was denied by a fine stop from Italy ‘s Gianluigi Buffon. It was to be his last meaningful act before the controversy that will threaten his longevity in the competition.
Chiellini and his Italy teammates were left apoplectic at Suarez actions, with the 29-year-old sharing his anger with journalists after the game,
“Suarez is a sneak and he gets away with it because FIFA want their stars to play in the World Cup. I’d love to see if they have the courage to use video evidence against him,” said the appalled Chiellini,
“The referee saw the bite mark too, but he did nothing about it.”
There was to be no justice for the Azzurri however, with Diego Godin heading Uruguay into the last 16 just minutes after the altercation, of which will surely dominate the back-pages (and some front) of the world’s media, with Suarez in big, big trouble despite ‘helping’ his side progress from Group D.