Suarez bite storm as Uruguay sink Italy
NATAL - Agence France-Presse
Uruguay's Diego Godin celebrates with team mate Christian Stuani after scoring a goal during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match against Italy at the Dunas arena in Natal, June 24. REUTERS PhotoLuis Suarez shocked the World Cup with a new biting storm June 24 as Uruguay sensationally dumped ten-man Italy out of the tournament with a dramatic 1-0 victory.
Uruguay captain Diego Godin hit an 81st-minute winner in the gritty Group D battle that saw Italy knocked out in the first round for the second straight World Cup.
But Italy's stunning exit was overshadowed by an incredible incident involving Suarez - already banned twice before for biting opponents - just moments before Godin's winner.
Television replays showed Suarez appearing to attempt to sink his teeth into Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder in an off-the-ball incident. Chiellini angrily remonstrated with Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez, pulling his shirt off his shoulder to show red marks on his neck.
Afterwards a disgusted Chiellini told Italian television: "He bit me, it's clear, I still have the mark." "The referee should have blown his whistle and given him a red card, also because he was simulating," added the Juventus player.
Suarez sought to play down the incident in comments to Uruguayan television, claiming Chiellini had barged him. "There are things that happen on the pitch and you should not make such a big deal out of them," Suarez said.
Uruguay's veteran manager Oscar Tabarez pleaded ignorance of the incident. "I didn't see it. I'd like to see the images first," he told a press conference. Tabarez also suggested Suarez was being victimised by journalists. "He is the preferred target for a lot of media," Tabarez said.
Pressed on the issue, a visibly irritated Tabarez refused to condemn Suarez. "This is a football World Cup, it's not about cheap morality." FIFA said it would study the referee's report and the match video.
Italy, who had Claudio Marchisio sent off in the second half join a growing number of European sides on the World Cup scrapheap after the exit of Spain, England, Croatia and Bosnia.
In Group D's other game in Belo Horizonte, Costa Rica ensured England's miserable World Cup ended with a whimper in a 0-0 draw. The result meant Costa Rica win the group, unbeaten after three games, with Uruguay finishing as runners-up.
Costa Rica will play Group C runners-up Greece on June 28 after they scored a last-gasp 2-1 win over Ivory Coast to scrape into the last 16.
An injury time penalty from Georgios Samaras clinched victory for the Greeks and left Ivory Coast players shattered.
The Africans had recovered from falling behind to an Andreas Samaris goal to level through Wilfried Bony on 74 minutes.
Colombia wrapped up qualification for the last 16 with another impressive win, destroying Japan 4-1 in Cuiaba. Juan Cuadrado, James Martinez and Jackson Martinez (2) scored for Colombia with Shinji Okazaki the lone scorer for Japan.
The match also saw Colombia substitute goalkeeper Farid Mondragon make history, becoming the oldest ever player at a World Cup at the age of 43 years and three days.
Mondragon's appearance surpassed Cameroon legend Roger Milla, who played at the World Cup aged 42 years and 39 days.