NATAL: The world football governing body Fifa have said they will be looking into the matter of Italy centre-back Giorgio Chiellini being bitten by Uruguay striker Luis Suarez during the World Cup clash between the teams in Natal on Tuesday, which resulted in Italy crashing out of the tournament after a 1-0 loss to the South Americans.
“We are awaiting the official match reports and will gather all the necessary elements in order to evaluate the matter,” said a Fifa spokesperson.
However, Chiellini is adamant that Suarez should have been sent off because of his violent behaviour.
“It is clear that he [Suarez] bit me, I still have the mark,” Chiellini told Italian television station Rai after the match.
“The referee should have blown his whistle and given him a red card, also because he was simulating,” added the Juventus player.
Italy finished the match with 10 men after Claudio Marchisio was sent-off for a stamp on Uruguay’s Eligio Alvarelo.
But Italy felt Suarez, who twice previously has served lengthy bans for biting incidents, should have followed him down the tunnel after a controversial later incident.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said he hadn’t seen it.
“I don’t have anything to say about it. During the game we’re concentrating on other things,” he said.
“It’s a World Cup, we don’t do cheap morality.”
Suarez and Chiellini came together in the area, after which both tumbled to the ground, Chiellini holding his shoulder and Suarez his face.
Meanwhile, Suarez could be seen sitting on the ground holding his teeth. Television replays suggested Chiellini was definitely bit.
If taken up by Fifa disciplinary chiefs it will almost certainly mean the end of the tournament for Suarez, painted as a villain at the 2010 World Cup for his deliberate goal-line handball which denied Ghana a famous quarter-final victory.
If Suarez is found guilty of another biting incident, it is inconceivable he will face anything other than a lengthy ban.
Our players deserve recognition: Pinto
Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto felt his side proved their worth by qualifying for the World Cup last 16 as group winners following Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with England.
“We have proved we can play good football and this makes me feel proud,” said the Colombian, whose side finished unbeaten at the top of Group D after previous shock wins over Uruguay and Italy.
“It means our players deserve recognition. We’re going to keep this style and this philosophy, so people say it’s not luck.
“Some people had doubts after the Uruguay game (a 3-1 win). People started believing after the game against Italy (1-0) and with this match, we have proved that Costa Rica can do a lot.”
Costa Rica were widely predicted to finish bottom of the group and their sensational performance carries echoes of their tournament debut in 1990, when a similarly unheralded side also reached the last 16.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2014.