Suarez bite and ban steals the first round spotlight

Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:45pm EDT
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By Peter Rutherford

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - For 13 glorious days in Brazil the feel-good factor flourished at the World Cup as the football flowed, the goals gushed and fans reveled in the tournament's return to its spiritual home.

Then along came Luis Suarez.

From the moment the troubled Uruguay striker sunk his teeth into Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder all the great goals and colorful celebrations of the group stage became a sideshow to the bite and subsequent nine-match ban.

Suarez was also hit with a four-month suspension from all football activities and fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($112,000) as FIFA came down hard on a player who has served two lengthy bans for previous biting incidents.

"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," world soccer's governing body said.

The suspension, a record handed out at a World Cup, has robbed the tournament of one of its brightest stars and left Uruguay without their lethal weapon ahead of a second-round encounter with high-flying Colombia.

And how they will miss him.

Suarez sat out Uruguay's opening defeat by Costa Rica but returned to score twice and effectively knock England out of the tournament before playing his part in a win over Italy that eliminated the Azzurri and sealed a spot in the last 16.   Continued...

Uruguay's Luis Suarez reacts after clashing with Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during their 2014 World Cup Group D soccer match at the Dunas arena in Natal June 24, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile