Italy exit shrouded by Suarez controversy, Prandelli quits
A second successive World Cup group stage exit for five-time winners Italy, however contentious the nature of their defeat to Uruguay was, has suddenly shaken the foundations of football in that country.
It would be sensationalist journalism in the extreme, though, to suggest Azzurri coach Cesare Prandelli and FIGC president Giancarlo Abete have both tendered their resignation because of Luis Suarez.
What can we say about Uruguay’s record scorer? He likes to get his teeth into matches both for club and country. Suarez gnawed at the shoulder of Giorgio Chiellini – the third such incident in a career that will certainly be remembered now more for these ‘Dracula moments’ than delightful genius.
Otman Bakkal, Branislav Ivanovic and now Chiellini are victims of the taste Suarez has developed for fellow footballers’ flesh. Remember their names, because it’s guaranteed they will come up in a pub quiz near you soon.
When it comes to European players, at least Suarez doesn’t discriminate. ‘There was a Dutchman, a Serbian and an Italian’ rather sounds like the beginning of a continental equivalent of those old ‘Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman’ jokes we are frowned upon for telling in Britain nowadays.
To borrow from great literature for a moment though, there is nothing akin to comedy in the outrage over Suarez’s conduct. How many second chances does he need? The rest of world, cannibals apart, manage to live by the creed ‘thou shalt not bite thy fellow man’. What sets him apart?
A serious punishment handed down from world governing body FIFA retrospectively is essential. Suarez’s previous form and subsequent suspensions demand nothing less. It beggars description how a man so talented can make headlines in such contrasting fashion mere days apart.
Suarez was the scourge that effectively sent England home from the Brazil finals. Half fit and with legs buckling under him, he was a national hero for Uruguay in rescuing their World Cup campaign. Within moments of biting Chiellini against Italy, La Celeste scored from a corner through Diego Godin to book their place in the knockout phase. %