Disgraced Suarez goes home, Brazil feel pressure

Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:01pm EDT
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By Patrick Johnston

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The furor over Luis Suarez's heavy ban for biting filled the void of the first game-free day at the World Cup in Brazil on Friday, with his Italian victim Giorgio Chiellini leading the criticism of the Uruguayan's record punishment.

The Italy defender feared the World Cup-record four-month ban and nine-match international suspension handed out by FIFA would alienate the controversial striker, who landed in Montevideo to be met by the his country's President Jose Mujica.

As Suarez left Brazil, FIFA paved the way for former Germany World Cup-winning coach and player Franz Beckenbauer to arrive by lifting his 90-day football ban for failing to help an inquiry.

The 68-year-old German had rejected repeated requests to co-operate with an investigation into the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar but his manager said the "Der Kaiser" would now cooperate.

"As you know Franz is someone we all respect and was an amazing footballer and we would love him to have him here at the World Cup," FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke told reporters in Rio de Janeiro.

Beckenbauer, however, has indicated he will not be attending the soccer showpiece and will watch from afar like Suarez, who was driven to the small coastal town of Solymar with his family to escape the world's glare.

In the 27-year-old's absence and continued silence, opinions flowed on the eye-catching verdict as his Uruguay team mates prepared for Saturday's last-16 clash with in-form Colombia, which follows hosts Brazil against Chile.

Chiellini, back in Italy after being knocked out by Uruguay following Tuesday's 1-0 Group D loss, feared for the future of Suarez, who has been found guilty of biting opponents on three occasions in a controversial career.   Continued...

A man holds his arm in front of an advertising placard showing Uruguay's striker Luis Suarez flashing his teeth, at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach