Germany, U.S and Algeria advance, Suarez banned
By Neil Maidment
SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) - Germany, the United States and Algeria sealed last 16 World Cup places on Thursday but much of the spotlight was on the tournament's bad boys as Uruguay's Luis Suarez got a nine-match ban for biting and Ghana sent two players home in disgrace.
On the final day of group matches, Germany beat the U.S. 1-0, a result that put both teams through from Group G, while Algeria's 1-1 draw with Russia saw them join already-qualified Belgium in the second round for the first time from Group H.
Germany will now play Algeria on Monday in Porto Alegre while Belgium will battle with the U.S. in Salvador on Tuesday.
Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, Ghana, South Korea and Russia were the day's casualties with all heading home.
Much of the talk in the last few days has, however, been about bad behavior marring an otherwise excellent tournament and events took another explosive turn on Thursday.
Uruguay's mercurial striker Suarez was handed a nine-match ban by FIFA - the biggest imposed at a World Cup - for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during Tuesday's group match and been suspended from any football-related activity for four months. [ID:nL6N0P74BI]
"Such behavior cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field," soccer's world governing body said in a statement.
Uruguay's FA president Wilmar Valdez said they would appeal, while its government will meet to discuss "options" relating to the ban, which ends Suarez's World Cup involvement and forces him to miss the first two months of the English season. Continued...