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Uruguay defeats Italy 1-0 to book place in knockout phase
Diego Godin's header secured victory in Natal
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli offers his resignation
Costa Rica wins Group D following goalless draw with England
Luis Suarez may have bitten off more than he can chew this time.
Already banned twice in his career for biting an opponent, the Uruguay striker was seemingly at it again in his country’s key World Cup victory over Italy.
Just before Uruguay’s winning goal, the striker was embroiled in an off the ball incident with Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini with both men falling to the floor.
And he could be facing a lengthy ban – despite his attempts to play down the incident.
“The only thing I know is that those are occurrences that happen on the pitch,” Suarez told reporters.
“I just collided with his shoulder. They are just casual incidences that occur during a soccer game. “
Television pictures showed Suarez dipping his head towards Chiellini, and when the Italian defender eventually got up, he pulled down his shirt and appeared to furiously indicate that he had been bitten on the shoulder.
“Suarez is a sneak and he gets away with it because FIFA want their stars to play in the World Cup,” Chiellini told Sky Sports Italia.
“I’d love to see if they have the courage to use video evidence against him. The referee saw the bite mark too, but he did nothing about it.,” added the Juventus defender.
FIFA has opened proceedings against the forward, for breach of FIFA disciplinary code. FIFA added that Suarez and/or his national association are invited to provide their position and any documentary evidence they deem relevant, with a 5pm (Brasilia time) deadline.
The 27-year-old Suarez will now face a nervous wait to find out if football’s world governing body FIFA will take action retrospectively – given it was missed by the match officials - and punish him.
But FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce, who also presides as head of the organizations referees committee, says he has huge concerns over Suarez’s actions.
“I have watched the incident several times on television,” he told reporters.
“There is no doubt Luis Suarez is a fantastic footballer but, once again, his actions have left him open to severe criticism.
“FIFA must investigate the incident seriously and take whatever disciplinary action deemed necessary.”
According to FIFA’s disciplinary code, the forward could face a maximum ban of 24 matches or two years.
Former Italian international Mauro Tassotti was given an eight-match ban in 1994, the longest suspension in World Cup history, after breaking the nose of Spain’s Luis Enrique.
Zinedine Zidane, the former France midfielder, was handed a three-match ban for headbutting Marco Materazzi in the 2006 final.
While FIFA has yet to make a decision, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez insists he did not see the incident when he addressed the press in his news conference.
“I’d like to see the images,” he said.
“I didn’t see that. And if it happened the referee probably didn’t see it. So no I don’t have any more comments to make. We had more important things than this in a football match.
“There seems there is animosity against this football player,” he added.
“He just came out of a difficult moment and he has been penalized. There are people hiding behind the tree waiting for something to happen.”
Suarez was also backed by team captain Diego Lugano, who instead blamed Chiellini for exaggerating the entire episode.
When asked by reporters about the incident he said: “You saw this, really?
“You need to show me because I didn’t see anything.
“Did you see it today or did you see what happened in other years. You couldn’t have seen it today because nothing happened.
“The worst of everything is the attitude of Chiellini. He’s a great player, with an enormous status. It doesn’t correspond with Italian football. As sportsmen leaving the field, crying and appealing against a rival. As a man he disappointed me totally.”
Diego Godin’s 81st minute header secured victory for Uruguay against an Italian team which played the final half hour with 10-men after Claudio Marchisio was sent off.
The defeat led to Italian coach Cesare Prandelli offering his resignation in his news conference after the game – but all eyes were still on Suarez.
The Uruguayan, who plays his club football with Liverpool, was banned for 10 games in April 2013 after being found guilty of biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
He was also guilty of biting during his time in the Netherlands with Ajax where he was banned for seven games after leaving a scar on the collarbone of Otman Bakkal.
Suarez’s rap sheet is lengthy.
At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he deliberately handled the ball on the goal-line to deny Ghana a place in the semifinals of the World Cup.
He was sent off for his troubles but Ghana missed the penalty and Uruguay went on to finish third in the tournament.
The following year after his move to Liverpool, Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
He was fined $63,000 and banned for eight matches.
Last week, after scoring both goals in his side’s 2-1 victory over England, Suarez hit out at the British media after claiming he had been unfairly treated over his transgressions.
“Before the game people in England laughed about my attitude over the last few years,” he told reporters following the game.
“I want to see what they think now. I have dreamed of this moment.”
Suarez enjoyed a sensational season with Liverpool – scoring 31 league goals to help his club qualify for the Champions League.
He was voted Player of the Year by his fellow colleagues and also named as the journalists’ Player of the Year too – awards that reflected a feeling that Suarez had put behind him his troubled past.
His participation in the World Cup had looked in danger when he suffered a knee injury in Liverpool’s final game of the season.
He was forced to undergo keyhole surgery and missed Uruguay’s opening game defeat by Costa Rica before making a near miraculous return in time to face England just five weeks after his operation, scoring both goals in the South American side’s 2-1 win.
Uruguay’s next game is likely to be against Colombia on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro.
Meanwhile, Italy coach Prandelli says he will step down following another World Cup disappointment.
Prandelli, who replaced Marcello Lippi as coach in 2010, also failed to guide Italy out of the group stage in South Africa four years ago.
“At the end of the match I spoke to the president of the federation, I have told them I am going to resign from my position,” he told reporters.
“When there is failure, the person in charge must take responsibility,” added Prandelli, who only extended his contract last month.
Giancarlo Abete, the president of the Italian Football Federation, also announced his resignation while stating he hoped to convince Prandelli to stay on.
In the group’s other game, Costa Rica sealed top spot with a goalless draw against England.
Los Ticos, which won both of its previous games, will play its next game in Recife on Sunday.