Reda Maher

Brazil 360: Mixed feelings from Uruguay fans about Suarez ahead of Colombia clash

Reda Maher

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“He’s a f***ing animal,” one Uruguay fan said of Luis Suarez as he stood by the Copacabana.

“He needs help,” he added, tapping the side of his head to indicate a special kind of craziness.

I wasn’t going to disagree with him. The fan in question, sporting a sleeveless t-shirt to show his full sleeve tattoos, was built like a truck, as wide as he was tall. Still, he refused to pose for a picture or give his name for fear of being abused by his countrymen.

For Suarez, in case you’ve spent the last week eating grass at a survivalist boot camp, has been banned for nine international matches and four months from all football activity after FIFA found him guilty of biting Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay’s 1-0 win over Italy.


“He’s done it three times, and now he’s out of the World Cup,” the increasingly irate Uruguay fan raged. “My heart says we can beat Colombia but my head says we’re finished.

“Maybe nine matches and four months is too much but I blame him. It’s his fault. If he didn’t bite a man for a third time we could have won the f***ing World Cup!

"He's the best striker in the world. Edinson Cavani isn’t going to win this on his own. F***!"

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Not all Uruguayan fans feel the same way.

I also spoke to some slightly less musclebound supporters, who had varying levels of support for Suarez.

“Yes, he should have been banned for this match, maybe a few more, but four months is ridiculous,” said Juan Ramon from Montevideo, relaxing with a bottle of the traditional Latin American drink Mate.

“While I think the English have made the biggest deal of it, FIFA has its own ideas. I don’t think the English opinion changed anything, even if they are bad losers.

“Still, I think we will beat Colombia. We’re united by this, even if Suarez did bad.”


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His friend, who didn’t want to be photographed, laughed as he said Suarez should only have been given a one-match ban.

“It’s an English conspiracy,” he said, mimicking the outright denial that came from the Uruguay camp after the incident and suspension.

“One match would have been fine. He didn't hurt him. FIFA is corrupt. Everyone is against us and we will prove them wrong.”

It was difficult to tell how serious he was, given his impish grin. After all, Suarez has bitten two players before munching on Chiellini’s shoulder earlier this week.


Colombia fans, like many neutrals, agreed that Suarez should have been suspended, but some feel sad that he will not appear on any football pitch for four months.

Andres Torro, from Cali, thinks FIFA have got it spot on, but will miss seeing him in his club shirt.

“As a Colombian I would say it is fair because he has done it for a third time and FIFA is making an example of him for fair play at the World Cup.

“But as a soccer fan I would say it is too strong because he will be out of the Premier League for four months. It’s a different feeling as a Colombian and as a soccer fan.”


Andres also pointed out that, while Colombia lost their star player Radamel Falcao before the World Cup, they have good options in reserve and are therefore favourites against Uruguay.

“Absolutely (Colombia can win). We have a lot of potential to beat them and show what we are capable of. We have great players doing very well in other countries – like James Rodriguez in Monaco and Jackson Martinez in Portugal.

“Uruguay is playing well but now they lost Suarez it may be difficult for them, we are what we are and we can beat them up.

“Falcao was a big blow for us, similar to Suarez for Uruguay, but we have different players who can do well.”

Another group of Colombia fans said their team shouldn’t use Suarez’s absence as a distraction.

“Whatever anyone says, they have other players,” Luis, from Bogota, said. “And they fight as a team.

“I still think we’re favourites though. We’re playing as well as I can remember.”

Eurosport’s Reda Maher is on location in Brazil for the duration of the 2014 World Cup - follow him on Twitter @Reda_Eurosport
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