Soccer’s gods and rogues

2014-06-29 15:00

This week, Italy supporters came to understand why Africans, Ghanaians in particular, have loathed Luis Suárez ever since the 2010 World Cup quarterfinal between Uruguay and Ghana.

Controversy seems to follow the Uruguay and Liverpool striker. Long before the knockout stages of this year’s tournament, Suárez had given people something to talk about.

The 27-year-old hogged the limelight again in the space of five days. Last week, he was in the news for all the right reasons after his brace sunk England. But five days later, he did the unthinkable by sinking his teeth into Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in their Group D clash on Tuesday night.

For the third time in his career, Suárez faced potential punishment for biting an opponent.

In 2010, while with Ajax Amsterdam, he earned a seven-game suspension for biting the shoulder of PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal during a Dutch Eredivisie match.

Soon after moving to Liverpool in early 2011, he was accused of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. Then last year, he was banned for 10 matches for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

But the world will remember him best for his deliberate handball on the line that prevented Ghana’s Dominic Adiyiah from scoring in the last minute of their 2010 World Cup quarterfinal.

Asamoah Gyan missed the resulting penalty and Uruguay eventually emerged victorious, progressing to the semifinals.

But the Cup has never been shy of controversy, as every tournament has its own talking points – good or bad.

Up to today, there is still a raging debate over whether Geoff Hurst’s goal that gave England a 3-2 lead over rivals West Germany in the 1966 final actually crossed the line.

Another infamous World Cup incident came in 1986, when Argentina’s Diego Maradona used his hand to score in the quarterfinal, something the English have to this day not forgiven the stocky player for.

The Zinedine Zidane incident at the 2006 World Cup will also go down in the history books as a talking point of the tournament after the then France captain was red-carded for head-butting Italy’s Marco Materazzi in the chest during the final in Berlin. France went on to lose in a penalty shoot-out and Italy were crowned champions.

But there have been some happy moments too, like Roger Milla’s famous dance at the corner flag in 1990, when he steered Cameroon to become the first African team to reach the quarterfinal stage at a World Cup.

In 2002, Senegal, making their World Cup debut, stunned the reigning world and European champions France, beating them 1-0 thanks to Pape Bouba Diop’s goal in the opening match.

France went on to be knocked out in the group stages.

World Cup Memorable Moments

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