Following Luis Suarez's third(!) instance of biting an opponent when Uruguay progressed to the round of 16 at the expense of Italy, the footballing world has reacted in uproar - either to claim the FIFA punishment of a nine-match international ban and a four-month ban from all of football was too harsh, or to claim that anyone who thinks it is unfair is absolutely ludicrous.
Topping the real-life Overreaction Theatre is Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez, who upon losing his country's best player for the rest of the World Cup quit his role on FIFA's strategy committee. The way things are going, there is a very strong chance Uruguay will be eliminated by a strong, in-form Colombia side at the Maracana: not because Suarez won't be playing, but mainly because the entire squad and coaching staff just don't appear focused enough to even try.
Are Uruguay really angry at the size of the punishment for Suarez? Let's face it: they're not in a position to condemn their shining star even when he does get himself into hot water for fear of angering him to the point that he'd just stop playing for them and focus on club football when he can finally kick a ball again. And the large ban isn't just for the bite: it's for a repeated instance of an extremely unnecessary, malicious and unfathomable act in what is supposed to be a sporting contest. If Uruguay put in a dismal performance against Colombia due to all of this, they have nobody to blame but themselves.
WHAT THE MEDIA SAID
Henry Winter, Telegraph: One of the most distinguished footballing nations, Uruguay, former champions of the world, have tied themselves up in knots over the Suarez affair. The failure to appreciate the enormity of the offence was bad enough. The dancing to Suarez’s tune was worse. Uruguayan officials and media can blame the English press all they like but if our most important international, Wayne Rooney, had bitten an opponent for the third time he would never, ever have been allowed to represent England again. No chance.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Uruguay play Colombia as mentioned tonight. With the likes of James Rodriguez in great form, it'll be an uphill struggle as it is for the Copa America champions. However, if they can get beyond their continental rivals even after the week they've had so far, nobody will overlook them from here on out regardless of who they end up playing. Meanwhile the Luis Suarez row will rage on, but until Suarez at the very least shows signs of guilt over what he did, regardless of the punishment, it'll be very hard to take any protests seriously.
After a day without World Cup action, it's an all-South American start to the last-16 with hosts Brazil meeting Chile and Uruguay playing Colombia. The two winners meet in the quarter-finals. Or, if you're not willing to wait until 17:00 BST for live sports, check out our Wimbledon coverage on site from 11:30 BST!
- Sports & Recreation
- Luis Suarez