The World Cup is displaying some of the greatest football matches of the year as teams compete for national pride along with the right to lift the trophy on July 13. But some of the biggest stories from the tournament have less to do with the actual games, and instead are focused on many controversies surrounding the tournament.
The latest World Cup blemish came during the Uruguay-Italy game, and surrounded controversial Uruguay striker Luis Suarez. During a struggle to gain control of the ball with Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, Suarez bit down on Chiellini’s shoulder hard enough to leave visible teeth marks in the skin.
Both players immediately fell to the pitch, with Chiellini clutching his shoulder in pain and Suarez grabbing his mouth. The biting incident happened around the 80th minute of the game, and one minute later Uruguay scored the first goal of the match – enough to secure a win, advance to the Round of 16, and put an end to Italy’s World Cup championship dreams.
But the Italian team and Chiellini in particular were furious with the refs that chose not to kick Suarez out of the game. Chiellini exposed his shoulder for the refs to see the bite mark, and the visual immediately went viral across the web.
Suarez has a history with biting that has made him a very controversial player in football. He was banned for 7 games during league play in the Netherlands and for 10 games in England after biting players on opposing teams.
Uruguay Coach Oscar Tabarez says he didn’t see the biting incident, and believes Chiellini, FIFA, or any other critics are targeting Suarez in a witch hunt.
“If it happened, the referee probably didn’t see it. Suarez, besides the mistakes he might have made, is the preferred target of certain media.”
FIFA is expected to respond to the biting incident, and FIFA President Sepp Blatter says the organization will rely on video evidence to issue Suarez the proper punishment.