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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power