• Italy 0-1 Uruguay, World Cup Group D

Suarez at centre of new biting row as Uruguay progress

ESPN staff
June 24, 2014
Giorgio Chiellini lies holding his shoulder having been bitten by Luis Suarez © Getty Images

A goal from Diego Godin gave Uruguay victory against Italy and a place in the last 16 of the World Cup - but Luis Suarez was the centre of attention after he appeared to bite Giorgio Chiellini.

It would be the third biting incident of Suarez's career, having already served lengthy suspensions at club level for an incident with Ajax in November 2010 and Liverpool in April 2013. He could now face a ban by FIFA at international level should they choose to act on television evidence.

The incident occurred when Suarez collided with Chiellini while waiting on a cross from the left in the 81st minute of the match. Both players tumbled to the ground, with Suarez holding his face having initially looked like he had been clattered by the Italian's arm. In fact, replays seemed to show that after they ran into each other, Suarez dug his teeth into Chiellini's shoulder in an almost exact replica of the incident when he bit Branislav Ivanovic while playing for Liverpool against Chelsea last year.

Twice biting, still not shy

Suarez has been at the centre of biting incidents before © Getty Images
  • November 2010: Playing in an Eredivisie match for Ajax against PSV, Suarez bit Otman Bakkal. He apologised, but was banned for two games by Ajax and a further seven games by the Dutch FA. He would never play another game for Ajax, moving to Liverpool in January 2011 before his suspension ended.
  • April 2013: In a Premier League match with Chelsea, Suarez clashed with Branislav Ivanovic and sunk his teeth into the defender's shoulder. No action was taken at the time, and Suarez would score an equaliser in a 2-2 draw. He received a 10-match ban from the FA and was fined by Liverpool
  • Read more: Suarez no stranger to controversy

It overshadowed a vital victory for Uruguay, which was secured within 60 seconds of the Suarez-Chiellini incident. Italy were already down to 10 men having had Claudio Marchisio sent off for a studs-first challenge on Maxi Pereira. With eight minutes remaining, Diego Godin headed beyond Gianluigi Buffon and sent Italy out at the group stage for the second World Cup in succession, having been winners in 2006. After the match, Cesare Prandelli announced that he was resigning as Italy manager.

Mario Balotelli received a booking for a high challenge on Martin Caceres midway through the first half, ruling him out of a possible last 16 tie had Italy progressed.

Uruguay carved out a wonderful opportunity on 33 minutes when Nicolas Lodeiro and Luis Suarez combined brilliantly on the edge of the box with the latter forcing a super stop from Gianluigi Buffon on the angle, with the Italy goalkeeper also smothering the rebound effort from Lodeiro. However, the standard of play was summed up by the fact that there were 24 fouls committed in total in the first half - the most of any first half at the World Cup so far.

The trend continued into the second half with the most notable moments being of the physical variety. Edinson Cavani felt he should have had a penalty when he tangled with Leonardo Bonucci in the box before Suarez blazed a dreadful free-kick high over the bar.

Uruguay should have taken the lead on 59 minutes. A great run by Cristian Rodriguez saw him exchange passes with Suarez and burst into the box, but he skewed his shot wide with just Buffon to beat.

Moments later, Italy were down to 10 men. Marchisio collided with substitute Maxi Pereira and replays showed that the Italian dragged his studs down the inside of the Uruguayan's leg. Mexican referee Marco Rodgriguez immediately flashed the red card and could have booked Buffon and a handful of other Italians for their fierce protestations about the decision.

Buffon was called into action on 65 minutes when Suarez burst through the middle of the Italian defence and his low shot was expertly diverted away by the goalkeeper's outstretched forearm.

The match then exploded with ten minutes to go. Suarez collided with Chiellini and appeared to bite the Italian's shoulder. The defender pulled down his shirt collar as if to display the bite marks, while Suarez held his mouth as if to indicate he was the one who had taken the punishment. "He knew what he did," said Chiellini to Italian TV after the match.

No cards were shown and within moments, Uruguay had scored. A Gaston Ramirez cross found Godin who planted a header beyond Buffon. Suarez took part in the celebrations but at the final whistle looked as though he had realised he might not play any further part in the tournament. It would not be the first time his World Cup has ended in controversy - he missed Uruguay's semi-final defeat by the Netherlands in 2010 for a deliberate handball on the goal-line in the final minute of the victory over Ghana in the last eight.

Giorgio Chiellini attempts to show the referee he has bite marks on his shoulder after clashing with Luis Suarez © Getty Images
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