Heroes and Villains: Herrera’s hurrah and Suarez snaps
Mexico manager Herrera has certainly lit up the stage from the touchline with his dramatic and somewhat enthusiastic reactions to… well just about anything. His Aztecs army managed to qualify superbly from Group A, consisting of hosts Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon, and we all had the pleasure of witnessing his jubilant celebrations on multiple occasions.
While not quite as agile as his was in his international playing days as a stocky mullet-wearing defender, Herrera can still be seen springing up and down in his green Mexico attire, not too dissimilar to a frog. It’s hard to imagine what the scenes will be like if El Tri knock out the Netherlands in the last 16.
Colombia’s answer to Dorian Gray, Mondragon, swooped onto the pitch in the 85th minute against Japan at the tender age of 43 – breaking the 20 year record held by Cameroon legend Roger Milla.
With Jose Pekerman’s men ahead 3-1 at the time, he decided to give the stopper, born in 1971, his 56th cap and first competitive appearance since 2005. He made a sole save and kept a clean sheet in his sixth World Cup, and even saw his side grab a fourth goal.
After a pretty ordinary season with Celtic, in which he played a bit-part role in, making 19 league appearances and scoring seven times – resulting in him being released – few would have predicted the former Manchester City forward would make such an impact in Brazil.
Greece failed to even score in their first two Group C games, but the 29-year-old was pivotal in his side’s dramatic 2-1 victory over the more-fancied Ivory Coast. He laid on an assist for his near namesake Andreas Samaris, before slotting in an injury time penalty after being fouled, thus making his side progress to uncharted territory, past the group stages.
Yes, he’s back. Suarez, a.k.a Jaws, has returned for his third showing, and this time on the biggest stage possible, the World Cup. Giorgio Chiellini has become the latest victim, after Otman Bakkal and Branislav Ivanovic, of the serial Uruguay chomper – in his country’s pay-per-chew bite-size gnash with Italy.
Puns aside, this could potentially be a series matter for Suarez, who is almost certain to be banned for the rest of the World Cup. Some reports suggest that he could be prohibited from playing all football for up to two years.
As part of the stupendous SAS attack at Liverpool, he has been called upon many times to help his club when in danger, much akin to Batman. However, in this case, he is more like Ratman.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s… well actually you were right the second time; it’s the England plane on its way to Manchester airport, packed with the slumbering Three Lions squad, after a miserable World Cup saw them take away just one point.
This is the first time since 1958 that England have exited at the first stage, and the only time in their history that they have gone home without a win. Yes, Roy Hodgson’s men arguably played promising football but, after losses to Italy and Uruguay and a drab goalless draw to Costa Rica, we are literally “coming home” pride-less again.
The Suarez incident was so shocking and unforgettable, that we simply had to go back to it. This time, it seems Uruguay boss Tabarez has possessed Arsene Wenger’s “didn’t see” superpower.
“I would like to see [a replay of Suarez’s bite] first,” he said with confidence. “If it happened then I think the referee had to have seen it first.
His power then really kicks in at this moment. “I didn’t see the incident and I don’t want anyone to speak for me about it,” he added with composure.
However, he began to lose his way and went on the defensive. “Suarez, in addition to errors that he may have made, is a target for certain sections of the media.
“If we believe people are attacking him, as has happened in this press conference, then we’re going to defend him. He’s a vital player, a very important person to the group.”
Well that went well…