Italy vs Uruguay match report World Cup 2014: Luis Suarez 'bite' overshadows Uruguay progress while Italy are out

Italy 0 Uruguay 1

arena das dunas

Uruguay knocked Italy out of the World Cup yesterday in a game of cynicism, spite and violence. It climaxed with Luis Suarez appearing to bite Giorgio Chiellini as the Italians, reduced to 10 men after the dismissal of Claudio Marchisio, tried everything they knew to cling on to that most Italian of results, a goalless draw.

They did not hold out and nor did they deserve to. With nine minutes remaining, Diego Godin thundered his header past goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and leapt over the advertising hoardings to display his shirt to the banks of Uruguayans behind the Italian goal.

Only days earlier the World Cup had witnessed the other side of Suarez, the deadly striker who had swooped so spectacularly to dump England out of the tournament. Here Natal saw the Suarez of football infamy as Chiellini removed his shirt to reveal the bite marks on his shoulder. The moment he bit the Juventus defender, Suarez threw his hands to his face in a vain attempt to convince the officials he had been punched.

In Sao Paulo he had shown his genius but this was something else. He had been roughly handled by the Italian defence – there is an image of Andrea Barzagli with his hands around the Liverpool striker’s throat. However, when Fifa replays the film of a dreadful game, it is hard to imagine Suarez taking any further part in this tournament.

Video: Luis Suarez bites Giorgio Chiellini
Read more: Suarez accused of biting a third opponent
Vine: Did Suarez bite Chiellini? Decide for yourselves...
Suarez's most controversial moments of his career

His actions could have huge ramifications for his country and club and one can only imagine his Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ reaction as he watched his star man transgress yet again. The irony is that over the last few days Suarez has talked aggressively about the unfair way he is portrayed in the British media. Well, here was the evidence as to why his reputation has been so frequently trashed.

Even if Fifa chooses to believe him when he claims he did not take a chunk out of Chiellini’s shoulder, football’s governing body can hardly turn a blind eye to the aggressive lunge with his head that preceded it.

The game, if that is what it was, resembled nothing so much as the “Battle of Santiago”, the slugfest in the 1962 World Cup between Italy and a Chile side outraged by derogatory comments made about the state of the host nation by two Italian journalists who were forced to flee the country for their own safety.

David Coleman memorably described it as: “The most stupid, appalling, disgusting and disgraceful exhibition of football possibly in the history of the game.” The referee, Ken Aston, later came up with the idea of yellow and red cards.

The laws and spirit of the game have changed immeasurably since but this spiteful, barren match was certainly the stupidest, ugliest match of this World Cup.

What was remarkable was that the referee here, Marco Rodriguez, had booked only Mario Balotelli in a dreadful first half that, rarely for this tournament, finished with booing, presumably from the neutrals.

It was for what can be best described as a gymnastic assault on Alvaro Pereira and it meant that, whatever happened in Natal, he would not be involved in the round of 16. Balotelli had himself been targeted with Egidio Arevalo putting his studs down the Italian’s ankles as an early statement of intent.

His contribution had been a single lame shot that threatened the advertising hoardings and he was taken off at half-time, ostensibly because he was injured but more probably because his coach, Cesare Prandelli, thought he might get himself sent off. Instead, it was Marchisio who saw red for a high lunge at Arevalo.

There were further losses when Marco Verratti was taken off on a stretcher. After Italy had lost Riccardo Montolivo to a broken leg before the tournament, it is questionable what resources Prandelli would have left for the knockout stages, had they qualified.

Read more: Balotelli booked for kneeing Pereira in head
Live reaction Suarez's alleged bite

It had begun so differently, amid optimism for what should have been one of the classic contests of this tournament. The seafront at Natal had been full of Uruguayan cars and flags as they joined spontaneous street parties triggered by Brazil’s evisceration of Cameroon. There is an Italian community in Natal but it was swamped by the influx.

The Arena das Dunas, designed by Christopher Lee, the architect who oversaw the Emirates Stadium, is sloped to resemble the shifting sand dunes that dominate Natal. It was, however, Italy who felt the ground going from beneath them.

Andrea Pirlo had remarked before kick-off “no team  plays for a draw”, which frankly, given he has spent his entire career in a league where the goalless draw is considered an art form was not a statement to be taken seriously. Temperamentally and technically, Italy were ideally suited to forcing the 0-0 that would have taken them through.

The irony is that had they approached this game and the one in Recife against Costa Rica with even some of the imagination they had displayed in the heart of the Amazon against England, they would not be going home. For all that the headlines will be about Suarez, Italy dished out rather more than they received.

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy
tvCall the Midwife Christmas Special
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there