Zee Media Bureau/Shobhan Saxena from Sao Paulo
Last Updated: Saturday, June 21, 2014, 10:02
In June 2010, Uruguayn striker Luis Suarez, 23, began to appear to the world. After scoring two goals against South Korea which took Uruguay to the quarterfinals of the World Cup, Suarez definitely made himself famous in the next game against Ghana. Not by scoring a goal, but with a defence.
With the game already in extra time, Suarez blocked a Ghanaian shot at the goal, on the line, and was expelled. Though Uruguay beat Ghana in penalty shootouts and lost to the Netherlands in the semi-final, Suarez established himself as the anti-hero of the World Cup.
It was just the first of many controversies that have marked the career of the player born in Salto, near the border with Argentina. In November 2010, in a game between Ajax and PSV, he bit the shoulder Othman Bakkal and was suspended for two games, being dubbed the "Cannibal of Ajax" by De Telegraaf newspaper.
But the biggest controversies came after Suarez was hired for 22 million pounds by Liverpool in 2011. At the end of that year, he was accused of racism by Patrice Evra of Manchester United. He was suspended for eight games.
Suarez was labeled a villain by the English media. In April 2013, he resumed the title of "cannibal" after biting Ivanovic, a Chelsea player, and suspended for ten games. Even David Cameron, UK prime minister, criticized him on the grounds that the act was a "bad example for children."
In Uruguay’s opening game against Costa Rica in the World Cup, Suarez could not play and his team lost 1-3. But he came back against England in style on Thursday and, as he did in the 2010 World Cup, scored both goals in the victory of his team which will now meet Italy in the last game of the group known as the “Group of Death”.
After the game on Thursday, Suarez was seen crying as he became quite emotional. It was obvious, Suarez has not forgotten the criticism he has received in England. "I dreamed about it. The truth is that I`m enjoying this moment. Whatever is said about me, the criticism I received before, and I`ve absorbed ... Playing against England was something I dreamed and thought about it many times," he said.
After this high-drama match, which is being called the best game of the World Cup so far, Uruguay have improved their chances of making it to the next round. But England’s chances are really slim even if they defeat Costa Rica by a huge margin in their last game.
In the last game of the day on Thursday, Japan tried a goal until the end but could not break away from the strong Greek marking. The goalless draw between Japan and Greece keeps both teams alive in the fight for rank in their group, but it complicates the situation for both.
Japan created several opportunities, especially at the end, but failed to finish. But Japan were technically superior and they controlled the game. This situation became even clearer when the Greeks lost their captain who was sent off with two yellow cards in the first half. The European defensive efficiency was then put to the test and the 10 Greeks still managed to hold their Asian opponents.
In the second half, Japan’s main flaw was quite evident. They invaded the Greek area but failed to score.
In this group even as Greece and Japan struggle to qualify to the next round, Colombia has already made it to last 16 with a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast amid a `Yellow Sea` which invaded the Mane Garrincha stadium in Brasilia on Thursday.
The excitement from the stands, packed with Colombian fans dressed in yellow, seems to infect the Colombian team, which celebrate both goals with an impromptu dance on the pitch. At first, even the reserves entered the dance. The young yellow team seems to have big dreams. And there`s reasons for this. With their second victory, which was quite convincing, and qualification for the quarter-final almost certain, this Colombian team is in the mood to make some big upsets.
First Published: Friday, June 20, 2014, 10:31