Brazil’s bad boys

2014-06-27 08:35

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Luis Suárez hogged the headlines after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini, but he wasn’t the only footballer behaving badly at the World Cup.

Head-butts, bust-ups, and team-mates attacking each other have threatened to steal the attention away from the superb soccer spectacle in Brazil. We take a look at some of the nastier incidents:

» For the third time in his career, Suárez sunk his teeth into an opponent. This time the Uruguayan striker has been slapped with a record nine-match ban and cannot participate in football-related activities for four months, in effect ending his World Cup and putting his 2014/15 club season in jeopardy.

“He is totally distraught. He never thought the punishment would be so severe,” said Alejandro Balbi, a member of the Uruguayan Football Association’s board and Suárez’s lawyer.

Suárez assesses the damage to his teeth after biting Chiellini. Picture: Tony Gentile/Reuters

“We didn’t choose him to be a philosopher, or a mechanic, or to have good manners – he’s a great player,” Uruguay president José Mujica said. “I didn’t see him bite anyone. But the evidence [and Fifa] showed otherwise.”

Chiellini shows the bite marks on his shoulder to the referee, who was unswayed and took no action against Suárez during the match. Picture: Tony Gentile/Reuters

» Ghana’s campaign went from bad to worse as they suspended Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari for ill-discipline. This was just a day after the Ghana Football Association (GFA) sent a plane to Brazil with more than $3 million (R31 million) for players’ appearance fees. Players wanted payment in cash rather than by electronic transfer.

It was the money issue that led to Muntari’s exile as he punched a GFA official during a meeting over the unpaid money.

Ghana's Sulley Muntari. Picture: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Boateng, on the other hand, was suspended following “vulgar verbal insults targeted at coach Kwesi Appiah during the team’s training session in Maceio this week”, the GFA said. Boateng denied swearing at the coach but said he accepted the suspension.

Boateng controls a ball during a training session. Picture: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

» Cameroon left the tournament with no points and their reputation in tatters. After defeat to Croatia confirmed their exit, defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto took out his frustration on team-mate Benjamin Moukandjo, head-butting him after an argument. “Disgusting” was the verdict by Cameroon coach Volker Finke.

» Team-mates weren’t the only ones head-butting each other. Portugal’s Pepe kicked off their campaign with a head-butt on Germany’s Thomas Müller. The German had the last laugh, though, as he scored a hat-trick as his side won 4-0. Pepe had an early shower and a one-match ban.

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