Group D play has finished for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and Uruguay has advanced to the round of 16 on a questionable play that involved Luis Suárez biting another opponent minutes before Diego Godín scored the winning goal. There will be questions as to whether Suárez, whose rap sheet includes at least two more biting incidents and an intentional handball to stop Ghana from scoring in 2010, should be allowed to continue to play at any level.
Costa Rica finished with a scoreless draw against England to take first place in the group, and the English side will return home with one point—poor consolation considering what the Three Lions expected to accomplish, but consolation nonetheless. Costa Rica will play Greece, who advanced as the second place team from Group C after a last second win over Côte d’Ivoire Tuesday afternoon. Uruguay will face Columbia, who clinched the top spot with a dominating 4-1 victory over Japan.
Uruguay versus Italy was the more eventful of the two games. The first half ended with neither team scoring a goal, though Suárez and Nicolás Lodeiro came within inches, but both shots were denied by Gianluigi Buffon. Mario Balotelli was booked in the 22nd minute, which led to him being pulled out of the game at the start of the second half in favor of Marco Parolo to avoid Balotelli getting a second card and forcing Italy to play with 10 men.
The move was for naught in the end, as Claudio Marchisio was given a straight red card by referee Marco Rodriguez for a studs-up challenge on Egidio Arévalo Ríos in the 59th minute. Italy played the remainder of the game with one less player, but was able to hold off Uruguay’s attack for a little over 20 minutes. They faltered just once, but that was all Diego Godín needed to put his head on Gastón Ramírez’s corner kick and direct it into the goal. Five minutes of stoppage time was added, but Italy was unable to capitalize, and Uruguay took the one goal win.
The goal and the win are taking a backseat to the Suarez controversy, though. Just before the corner kick that led to Godín’s goal, Suárez sank his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder, causing Chiellini to elbow Suárez in the head. The Uruguayan striker fell to the ground, holding his head, while his victim appealed to the referee, pulling his jersey aside to show the teeth marks on his skin. Suárez was not penalized for the bite, which should have warranted an automatic red card, and Godín’s goal paved the way for Uruguay to earn the second spot in Group D and advance to the round of 16 for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
This is the third time Suárez has been caught biting an opposing player. In 2010, he was suspended for seven games for committing the same act against Otman Bakkal, and he did it again in 2013 to Branislav Ivanovic during a Liverpool match against Chelsea, which earned him a 10-game ban. A third offense of a violent act should not only see FIFA ban Suárez from the rest of the 2014 World Cup (or at least as long as Uruguay remains in the competition), but the organization should also consider a lifetime ban, as the striker has clearly not learned his lesson and is a hazard to opposing players.
Suárez is not afraid to cheat to win, as shown by his intentional handball during the 2010 World Cup round of 16 match against Ghana to stop what would have been the winning goal for the African side, but his malicious way of biting opposing players should not be allowed by FIFA, and he should be banned from the remainder of this World Cup tournament at the very least. Uruguay should be forced to finish the tournament without Suárez, as they should have been for the final 20 or so minutes of Tuesday’s final Group D match.
Commentary by Christina Jones