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
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Bob Dylan
art
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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?