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World Cup heroics hypnotise Uruguayans

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Jonathan Stevenson | 15:54 UK time, Monday, 5 July 2010

World Cup 2010: Johannesburg

On 1 March, during the course of a holiday, I happened to find myself in the middle of joyous Uruguayan festivities. People were pouring on to the streets of the capital Montevideo to celebrate the night away, singing patriotic songs and dancing until the early hours of the morning.

Little did I know that, thanks to the World Cup, only four months later Uruguay would be at it again.

I had arrived in the second smallest country in South America at a time of national rejoicing. It was the day that Uruguay's new president Jose Mujica was inaugurated.

Talking to the locals, they were overwhelmingly optimistic about the future, surfing a wave of patriotic fervour that was only just beginning to die down towards the end of my five-day stay.

However, even those days of partying pale in comparison with the way people have responded to the exploits of 'Los Charruas' at the World Cup in South Africa. In reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 1970, Oscar Tabarez and his team have become heroes - and Montevideo has once more become the setting for frenzied celebrations.

Gonzalo Larrea, a football journalist for El Pais newspaper who warned me before the tournament started that Uruguay would become one of the surprises of the World Cup, says he has never seen anything like it.

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"Honestly, I still cannot believe what is happening to us," Larrea told me. "I was pretty optimistic before, as you know, but this country is experiencing something really unique now, with thousands celebrating on the streets like something never seen before."

Larrea is part of a generation of Uruguayans for whom footballing success was previously little more than a history lesson. His country were winners of the first World Cup as hosts in 1930 and then stunned Brazil in the Maracana to win the tournament once more in 1950.

With the exception of their semi-final appearance in 1970, there has been little to cheer for Uruguay. Prior to South Africa, their last win in a World Cup match had come at Italia '90, the last time Tabarez was in charge. Suffice to say a scrappy 1-0 win over South Korea did not provoke the scenes of the last few days back home, scenes which Larrea is only too happy to talk about.

"Everyone knows we have a rich history in football, with two World Cups and many glories," he says. "But we all thought those days had been left behind. My generation had never seen something like this and we were starting to believe we never would.

"When we won 3-0 against South Africa, people started celebrating on the streets, while the main avenue, 18 de Julio, was full to bursting. When we beat South Korea to reach the quarter-finals, no-one could believe it. The celebrations were very impressive."

Avenida 18 de Julio was where I watched the reaction to Mujica's induction, delighted I'd found a street named after the day that also happens to be my birthday. Some elementary digging led me to discover that Uruguay's first constitution was adopted on 18 July 1830, exactly 150 years to the day before I made my entrance into the world.

There's more. On a visit to the Estadio Centenario, a footballing monument to a bygone era dripping in historical significance, I learned that the stadium had opened on 18 July, 1930, with Uruguay beating Argentina 4-2 in the first World Cup final 12 days later. The picture of me, top-right in this blog, was taken while I was sitting inside the stadium I share a birthday with.

Stevo1.jpgOutside the first World Cup final venue, Montevideo's Estadio Centenario, in March

Walking around the museum, taking photos of the first World Cup final football, it felt like Uruguay's footballing greatness belonged to a different age. My request to speak to the sole survivor of the 1930 final, the 100-year-old Argentine Francisco Varallo, fell on deaf ears, while my budget did not stretch far enough for an interview with the hero of the 1950 final, match-winner Alcides Ghiggia, now 83.

It seemed as though Uruguay's time had come and gone - until their thrilling, controversial penalty shootout win over Ghana, the last African team in the tournament, sent them back into the sporting stratosphere.

Luis Suarez may have been cast as the villain in the host continent after he denied Ghana victory with his now infamous handball on the line. But the Ajax striker will forever be a hero in his homeland after Asamoah Gyan missed the resulting spot-kick and Uruguay won on penalties.

"Winning that match and the way it was achieved was epic," admits Larrea. "The feeling we have is more than happiness. There's euphoria, optimism, never-before-seen nationalism, with thousands of flags displayed all over the city and on buildings and cars. People are so proud.

"Regarding Luis Suarez, he is seen a real hero - maybe THE hero. I don't know about your country but here what he did is not seen as cheating. It was his last resource and he defended the game in the way he could. The footage of him celebrating Gyan's missed penalty will long stay in people's memories here.

"After the match, fans were already singing songs with his name and his hand is already being called the 'Hand of God' and the 'Hand of an Angel'."

Suddenly, Uruguayans are experiencing a sensation perhaps not felt in the country since 1930, when they went into the World Cup as favourites on the back of winning gold medals at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics: Expectation.

But with a population of only 3.4 million, do Uruguayans really think the second-smallest of the 32 competing countries in South Africa can beat the Netherlands and go on to win their third World Cup?

"Well, expectations are growing as the hours go by," said Larrea. "At first, the general feeling was we didn't care about the Dutch but, as the match gets near, we start to feel we can win. If we get to the final, it will be very hard to beat us, I'm sure about that.

"There's a mixture of emotions. We know on one hand that this is more than we could imagine and we cannot ask for more. But, on the other hand, we are so close and we dare to see ourselves as world champions. Why not? It's not impossible at all."

Few Uruguayans will remember but this is a country that knows how to win the World Cup. The partying in Montevideo may have only just begun.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    why should he allow the ball to go in and knock them out? i'd have done the exact same in that situation and i'd want any player playing for my team to do likewise. it was punished within the rules of the game, not their fault ghana missed the penalty. personally i'd like to see uruguay beat the dutch

  • Comment number 3.

    The Suarez efforts have been extensively covered elsewhere, can we please stop moaning about it in every blog about Uruguay's World Cup.

    Suarez did what was necessary, and was punished. Plus, the free kick was a dive, so in reality Uruguay was actually cheated.

    If you can not score a penalty in the last minute of a QF game, you do not deserve to be in the semi. That's football, that's life, that's why this is the best collective sport ever invented.

  • Comment number 4.

    by the way, my previous comment was not related to the excellent article, just to the first of the posts...

  • Comment number 5.

    Well done Uruguay and Suarez. You guys play decent football as opposed to Ghana and all the African teams who play and unwatchable physical brand of football. Go Europe and South America. You are the only continents who deserve to be in the semi-finals of a world cup.

  • Comment number 6.

    Excellent blog Jonathan. I visited the same Estadio and adjoining museum in 2007, inspired by the knowledge that this was the home of the World Cup, a must for all aspiring football historians. I remember being fascinated that such a small nation had such a proud, albeit distant, footballing past. Little did I know, however, that only a few years after my visit Uruguay would be scenting glory once more. If they somehow manage to win it, which would be little short of a miracle, then this would count perhaps as the most remarkable footballing achievement of recent times. And one which would justify a large extension to their museum...

  • Comment number 7.

    Winning by any means possible makes the victory bitter. It is a shame that FIFA who have had a bad world cup made it even worse for themselves by not banning the man for three matches.

    What kind of message does it send to the children playing football at school? Cheat and it might be worth it? Is that what football has descended to?

  • Comment number 8.

    Fantastic blog, for me La Celeste's performance in the WC has underlined one of the main reasons it is such an excellent event. Before this tournament I only knew Uruguay as just another South American team who aren't Brazil or Argentina, albeit one who in the distant past won the WC twice.

    With thanks to blogs such as this, as well as my own curiosity, I've learnt a lot more about the country and their passion for the sport. It is understandable so many cheered on Ghana in their semi final clash, but personally seeing such a small nation achieve such unexpected success is just as rewarding.

  • Comment number 9.

    Good article. I can't see Uruguay get past Holland, but if they somehow buck the odds and win it all, I would be chuffed for them. Good team with a lot of talent and pluck

  • Comment number 10.

    This is getting ridiculous, Suarez did not cheat, he did all he could to save his team & if that meant getting sent off.....then so be it. After all how many last man fouls do we see in the course of a season, are we going to ask Fifa to change the rules & award a goal for that too. The punishment is a red card & a penalty if it is in the area. Uruguay have a chance if they keep the defence tight, the keeper is great.

  • Comment number 11.

    Great story for such a small nation with a lot of footballing history.

    It will be tough to go any further, but as this WC seems to be unpredictable and Diego Forlan in top form, you`ll never know.

  • Comment number 12.

    manofthematch...get over it.
    Anyone would've done it. He paid the price with a red card and the penalty, Ghana simply messed it up. Uruguay were the better team anyway and should have had a stonewall penalty before that.

    I can't see them getting past the Dutch.

  • Comment number 13.

    @ No 7

    Winning by any means possible makes the victory bitter. It is a shame that FIFA who have had a bad world cup made it even worse for themselves by not banning the man for three matches.

    What kind of message does it send to the children playing football at school? Cheat and it might be worth it? Is that what football has descended to?


    I wonder what YOU would have done had it been YOU on the line in a WC QF?

    Would you have watched on hopelessly and let the ball into the net knowing the only other thing you could do was 'Cheat' to stop the ball crossing the line?

    Holier than thou.

    Sounds like you wanted Ghana to go through before all this happened! And now that they were knocked out your outraged.

    And what do you want FIFA to do? Change the rules? He did what he did and the punishment has been issued as per the rules.

    What about the free kick that the Ghana player dived to win? Anything to say about that?

    I think Suarez is a man who played with his heart on his sleeve. He grafted all through that game for his country and gave everything he could in order that they go through.

  • Comment number 14.

    What hurts the most is that It should've been England there and not Uruguay, if they hadn't royally messed it up in the group stages.
    I know some will say that we may not have beaten Ghana or Uruguay, but I bet we would have.
    We'll never know.
    Nevertheless, I'm happy for the people of Uruguay.

  • Comment number 15.

    Great blog Jonathan.

    #3 You're right. Ghana lost because of Gyan's inability and not because of LS's infraction.

    #10 I agree. LS broke the rules and got punished for it.

    I knew Uruguay had a pretty good team and would go far, but I didn't expect them to get this far.

    Everybody talks about Uruguay's 'garra' (I guess 'guts' comes close to the Spanish word), even Uruguayans themselves. But let's not overlook the fact that the team is full of very talented footballers. Can they beat NL? I think so.

  • Comment number 16.

    I could see them holding out the Dutch to penalties and if they do reach the final I think they'll win. Forlan's got that look in his eyes.

  • Comment number 17.

    @ #1
    I don't know why people are saying Uruguay cheated. If anything, Suarez put his team at a huge disadvantage conceding the penalty. If Gyan scored it, we wouldn't be talking about 'cheating Uruguayans' and so on.

    I reckon their fairytale run will come to an end tommorow night...
    ...but you never know! (it does look like a place for Holland in the final- with Germany- though)

  • Comment number 18.

    Hope Uruguay turn over the Dirty Dutch!

    I dont think I can stand watching Robben dive his way thru the WC final!! No wonder Melo stomped on him. I wanted to do the same!

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Is it because a Uruguayan ref didn't see England's second 'goal' that this incident is being blown out of all proportion ?

  • Comment number 21.

    For all those people who say Suarez is a cheat and Uruguay don`t deserve to be in Semi final ,one question.
    Name a player in the in the world cup who did not break a law of the game ,didn`t handle a ball ,foul a player ,take a dive , wasted time or any other rule of the game ?
    They all do it ,If Suarez had done it in the 1st minute would have it have been less a crime ? Would there have been as much of a fuss ? I don`t think so ,He broke a law of the game and was punished accordingly ,that Ghana did not take advantage of it is there problem.
    I am not saying what he did was right it is just the most high profile .
    Footballers cheat and I just can`t see that change anytime soon .

    Having said all that I would like to see them beat the Dutch ,Robben and Co diving and rolling the length of the pitch crying and bawling annoys me a lot more then that handball.

  • Comment number 22.

    @pezzonovante. Wow, I wonder if you even watched the Ghana v Uruguay game. only one team played football for the last 60 minutes of that game and it was Ghana. But be that as it may it was a thrilling and exciting QF and the african team Ghana DEFINITELY contributed to that game. It annoys me that people seem to forget this is a "world" cup and not just for the European and South American teams. Those times are over.

  • Comment number 23.

    I dont think I can stand watching Robben dive his way thru the WC final!!


    Have to agree, his diving antics are pathetic and shameless.

  • Comment number 24.

    I defy any Englishman not to do the same as Suarez did for his country. He paid the ultimate sacrifice, he knew the odds. A red-card for a glimmer of hope that the penalty might be missed... Suarez is a hero. And he never got away with it anyway - he was sent off and a foul given.

    The only villain is Gyan. He stepped up to do the job of tucking it away. He didn't have the nerve to pick a spot so tried skelping it without any control and got no more than he deserved for his recklessness.

    I have nothing but sympathy for the Ghanian fans though, but they can hold their heads up high as in the Africa's first World Cup, they were the shining beacons for the continent whereas every other African countyr fizzled out (exception of South Africa as possibly one of the weakest sides gave it a right good go in their group).

    I'm happy for Uruguay as they are producing some good football and deserve their place in the semis.

  • Comment number 25.

    Saurez cheated. It will taint everything the Uraguayans do at this WC.

    No further discussion required.

  • Comment number 26.

    I feel also people are mistaking the critism of fifa not imposing a more lengthy ban on Suarez with critisism of Suarez's actions itself. Few of us could claim we would not have done the same thing and I even buy into the Uruguay coaches explanation that it was instinctive, but the point is Fifa do have a rule where a commiitee can meet after the game and discuss certain incidents and despite the correct penalties being followed they can impose further sanction. In this incident, the principles of fair play were definitely in question and it was so blatant that I do feel they had an oppertunity to make a statement by banning Suarez for more matches

  • Comment number 27.

    At 7:58pm on 05 Jul 2010, cloggysaint wrote:

    I dont think I can stand watching Robben dive his way thru the WC final!!


    Have to agree, his diving antics are pathetic and shameless.

    but u can stand and watch suarez catch his way to the world cup finals.

  • Comment number 28.

    if Suarez got a 3 match suspension for handling the ball. All players who handle the ball should get a red card and a 3 match suspension including Muller from Germany. The problem was not Suarez.

    The problem was Gyan (what a loser). How could he miss that penalty. Also, look at the Ghana players (Mensah and the other guy) and their penalty shots. That was pure garbage. It was as if they were passing the ball to the goalie.

    I have never seen a penalty so badly executed. Its like they don't know how to shoot a penalty. I am sorry, but if you miss a penalty in the last minute of extra time and execute a penalty the way the Ghanaian players did, you deserve to go out of the world cup. They should be ashamed for themselves.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    ghana was the best african team in the tournament, who are not good tried they best and were alot better than cameroon and nigeria. these two are so overhyped but always under-deliver. like england

  • Comment number 31.

    I'll say Saurez is a brave soldier.. He did a suicide and his army prevailed!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    I think that all those who say that Suarez didn't cheat will never fully appreciate what happened until someone comes along and does something similar to a team they support.
    Then they should see whether they feel they've been cheated.

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm intrigued to see all the ways people try to rationalize, excuse and forget Suarez's epic cheat. It's sloppy thinking and total lack of a conscience to see it as anything but cheating.

    Go back to the start. Cheating is gaining an advantage by breaking the rules.

    What he did was the highest form of cheating, because it gained the greatest advantage. Hack a player down when the opposition are outnumbering you - that's bad: they COULD have scored. Hack a player down when you're the last defender - that's worse: they SHOULD have scored. Handball on the goalline - that's worst: they WOULD have scored.

    I am hoping that the Netherlands do exactly the same to Uruguay, so I can listen to what the deniers have to say then.

  • Comment number 34.

    Suarez cheated but the rules of football almost certainly ensured that he would do so, so one can understand this. So the rules need to be changed. What I find most disconcerting is the hagiography he is being subjected to..... e.g. the hand of god rubbish. Oh yea god came down and saved the goall. Maybe we should get Suarez canonized to boot! All raise for St Suarez the patron saint of cheaters and swindlers! BTW if he did not cheat then lets all take his example for our actions in life? Any takers for Gaol, as that is where it will lead to.

  • Comment number 35.

    #32: If what happened to Ghana happened to us, we might be upset, but we'd definitely be blaming our penalty takers as much as any other man.

    #33: I don't agree, exactly. He paid the price for his foul; and what he did wasn't prevent a goal, but change a goal into a penalty probably-goal, in exchange for paying the penalty. He played the rules; it may be unfair, and it's definitely gamesmanship, but I still don't think it's cheating.

  • Comment number 36.

    #35: Maybe so. Maybe Ghana are too, I don't know. I do suspect they feel more than slightly cheated, though, as I suspect anyone else would.

    I agree 100% with #33.

  • Comment number 37.

    sotenup - your views are sadly misguided and ill-informed. Suarez handled the ball, in full view of the referee and under the LAWS (not rules) of the game he was punished accordingly by being sent-off and a penalty awarded to Ghana. He did not attempt to decieve anyone by his actions. Therefore he did not 'cheat'.
    I will give you some examples of cheating. Fabiano handled the ball twice and then scored a'goal' and got away with it. He could have admitted that he handled twice but did not do so. He cheated.
    Neuer pulled the ball back (Lampard's shot) after it crossed the line, and deceived the referee into believing that it had not crossed the line. He cheated.
    One player, I can't remember which, fell in the penalty area without being touched, claiming he had been fouled, but thankfully the referee saw the players actions and did not award a penalty. But he was cheating.
    Why no outcry from all these know-alls about these cheating incidents?

    I repeat - Suraez committed an offence which is punishable by the LAWS of the game. He did not try to deceive the referee by saying it hit his head, chest or backside. Therefore he did NOT cheat.
    Midland 20 - Your comments are stupid to the extreme. Have you seen pictures of the back of Robben's legs? They are black and blue from where he was kicked by various Brazilian players including the deplorable Melo, who was rightly dismissed. Now that type of offence does deserve suspenion for several games because he actually tried to injure another player.

  • Comment number 38.

    I disagree most Uruguayans know they won the World cup. I have met one or two and mostly we talk football. Not a bad article of your travels, but relatively samey for recent events.
    Like most of the successful South American teams of past WCs it was Scots who introduced the game to Uruguay, and they have fans Uruguayan and desendents living in many SAm countries. I will be cheering for them and would love to believe. They have to counter the Dutch first though and hope for Spain in my mind. Hopefully the Dutch will be more arrogant and less "wind-up as they were against Brazil".
    In winning the 1950 tournament Uruguay only had one first round match as Scotland and Turkey withdrew. They never led in any of the subsequent matches yet won them all................come on Uruguay,

  • Comment number 39.

    Uruguay may win the world cup but it will be on the foundation of illegality. 'Whatever is based on illegal foundation is itself illegal' (Saddam Hussein).

  • Comment number 40.

    It is absurd to argue that Suarez should have been banned for longer than the one match which Harry Kewell had already been banned for handling on the line against Ghana in the same tournament. Same offence, same punishment.

    Uruguay is back where it belongs and desperately unlucky to be going into a World Cup semi-final deprived of it's top scorer as a result of a Ghana PK which was the culmination of a move they began with a dive to win an unmerited free-kick.

    Even worse, Uruguay is deprived by injury of its new playmaker Lodeiro and its captain and defensive lynchpin Lugano.

  • Comment number 41.

    Not here to defend Suarez's action, but let's keep things in perspective. Every time a player 'deliberately' fouls any player and gets away with it, it is a form of cheating. Every time a player dives when hasn't been fouled, or even overreacts when he has been, this is a form of cheating. When a player scores knowing that he was off-side, this is cheating. Every time a player raises his hand to claim a throw or a corner or a goal kick when HE has put the ball out, this is form of cheating, etc etc etc.

    These kinds of things, sadly, go on in football all the time and almost every team in this World cup has been guilty of it. Heck, even the free kick that led to the Surarez handball was a dive/self-trip by the Ghanaian player who cheated in winning the foul. Ever worse, earlier in the extra Uruguay has a perfectly valid shout for a penalty turned down when the Ghanaian player got away with (i.e. cheated when) fouling Sebsatian Abreu.

    So why all the focus and vitriol on Suarez? Yes the guy's action was of course cheating, no disputing that, but at least he didn't get away with it. He was sent off and Ghana got the penalty as per the rule. So give it a rest already.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ #18: Midland - I may just be a wee bit biased, but some of the charges at Robben were very much fouls of the caliber that would net a player a yellow later on in the game - and that was just the first five minutes. I will admit that he resorted to diving once Bastos (his direct opponent) had picked up a yellow - the free kick that led to the 1-1 was lightly given IMO. Frankly, I think you'd be fairly hard-pressed to find any attacker of his kind (the injury-prone one...) that doesn't do that nowadays. Doesn't excuse it, but it's more the game than the player at this point, IMO.

    Re Suarez: There's a saying in the Netherlands. As with a lot of those quotes, the more popular one is a misquote, but the original translates as follows: "Top-level football is a bit like war. Being too polite means you lose". (For the record, the misquotes one simply translates as "Football is war".) And in war, sacrifices must be made. I have little doubt Suarez knew exactly what he did and that he, or anyone who was on that goalline with so much at stake, would do it again in an instant. It's against the laws of the game, so he shouldn't, but he would anyway.

    I really don't get his ban, though. 1 match? Bit underwhelming there, Fifa.

    I'm not completely sure on this following, so if anyone can prove me wrong, please do so. I think there is one more 'reason', however old it may be, for Uruguay to win: Every time Brazil lost in a Southern Hemisphere World Cup - Uruguay went on to win it. Yes, it was 1930 and 1950, but eh. And yes, Brazil were unbeaten in 1978, yet they only ended in third. Blame the rules of the tournament.

  • Comment number 43.

    Here's hoping for a Uruguay Germany final... I didn't think I'd be wishing for that at the start, but the Germans have been impressive and I feel Uruguay deserve their place. Their opening game was really disappointing, but they did what was necessary and since have looked a really good unit.

    This is what makes the World Cup great, I correctly predicted one semi final before the tournament started, however the other semi finalists were nowhere near. I just wish watching the quarter final the ITV commentry hadn't been so rediculously bias towards the African team.

  • Comment number 44.

    Suarez didn't cheat. If he cheated then there would be no penalty and no red card. Anyway it shouldn't of been a free kick in the first place which means if the goal went in then Uruguay would of been cheated out of it. I feel sorry for Ghana but it's their own fault they got knocked out all they needed to do was score that penalty.

  • Comment number 45.

    "Few Uruguayans will remember but this is a country that knows how to win the World Cup" - what the f does that mean? If you use that argument, England and others should still be in and not have gotten knocked out. Where did you study English/Journalism?

    Those that won back in the early part of the 20th C are long gone and those who are playing don't know squat about winning.

    Dear BBC, can I write a blog? It would be better than this drivel

  • Comment number 46.

    Slow news day? By the way, we get it, your birthday is July 18th.

  • Comment number 47.


    good to read a BBC commentator more interested in writing about what he sees than about doing the usual jingo thing about the Rio de la Plata countries.

    I wish to point out that the celebrated cheating argument applies 105% to Neuer, the german goalkeeper, who noticing that the ball bounced inside the line and caught it up to fool the referees, but not the cameras. THAT is cheating, trying to Maradonianly cover your cheats.

    As to Uruguay, yes, we are hypnotised, for we managed to get shot down in flames from many WCs by our mistakes, by FIFA interests, by bad refereeing (there is a photograph of a german defender punching the ball out with his hand from the line in the DE/UY game in 1966, no mention of that ever). In spite of that Tabarez has trudged silently, the squad has toiled on, none of the kids ever says" we will beat these bums...." "because all Latin america is behind us", or "because we were perfect and are the best ever" or whichever other idiocies have been mentioned in this WC.

    The problem is not that we are 3.4 million, it is that FIFA will get more out of having the USA getting into the game (imagine the profits from 30 million kids buying the DONOVAN jersey, and the profits from ALL Urus buyng the Forlan one !). It is no surprise that Sir Stanley Rous managed to get the WC in England, and ensure that EN got the trophy in 66, and that Brazil did their best cups when Havelange was President. Mind you, the Swiss will never manage that from Blatter, who is happy enough sitting with presidents and kings.

    I remember Pedro (Spain?) saying before the WC that Serbia and UY were the darkhorses on which nobody counted. Well one horse is out, the other has seen 90% of the others off. Not a bad prediction. It would be superb for the game to have UY on top, showing that there are real possibilities for the underdog, even if the referee roots for the other team, as Benquerenza did to get one african team on the quarters, doing somebody elses bidding.

    Good for UY.
    Good for you.

  • Comment number 48.

    What hurts the most is that It should've been England there and not Uruguay, if they hadn't royally messed it up in the group stages.
    I know some will say that we may not have beaten Ghana or Uruguay, but I bet we would have.
    We'll never know.
    Nevertheless, I'm happy for the people of Uruguay.

    England haven't got to a semi final of a WC since 1990. Those who think the PL, England is the centre of world football, then you are sadly mistaken as much as those who think that England is at the centre of the world politically. England were lucky to get to the second round. No system, no technical skill, no variation in play. Football has not progressed in the UK in the last 20 years - well done Uruguay for at least trying to play football (apart from the hand ball). Hopefully you will get to the final!

  • Comment number 49.

    If the same thing had happened say in the 100th minute of the game no one would be crying like a baby about Suarez handball...

  • Comment number 50.

    The referee made two big mistakes before LS's ball-handling. He saw an inexistent foul that got the play started. And then, he didn't see two Ghanaians who were offiside. The whole sequence should've never taken place or, at least, it should've been stopped before LS did what Muslera should've done.

  • Comment number 51.

    Good blog Stevo.
    I'm suprised at the foolishness of this fellow compatriot here whining the It should have been England there instead of Uruguay.
    I would like to ask him how on this worldly earth he could think so?
    Uruguay drew with France.We drew with USA. Ok,France were a disjointed team,but by far you can count a win upon the french an achievement than with a win over the yanks.
    Uruguay won the hosts. We drew with Algeria. Not sure if there is so much of a difference of quality over the football the hosts and algeria play or their rankings.But with inspiration rampant from their first game and the crowd behind them,South Africa were no less than a bull on leash.Still uruguay tamed them,actually thumped them.And what could we do? I'll eat my hat if u show me a single thing the our players did which would/could suggest that they were out there to play football.
    Needing just a draw to top the group and the opposition too rooting out for a draw,Uruguay didn't make its fans feel bored. Ok,we won,a solitary goal against Slovenia.So did Uruguay against the mexicans who are a better opposition.
    Uruguay won the group. England through as runner-ups. Now tell me how we deserved to be there in semi-final?
    Ok,our players did try a bit against Germany. But by virtue of the abyss in quality,strength and salary we bestow towards our players and the hype we create about our footballing standard and that of the uruguayans,i think we were supposed to better with our chances than they'd do with theirs. Yes the germans are up the level and the koreans aren't same as them. But by the standard of football we hype our footballing is about,the level grounds almost becomes the same.They were two top-quality team against each other and we were two standard footballing. The south koreans gave a better fight.
    Then Uruguay went on to defeat Ghana,kinda second hosts.
    Cheating,you call it? World Cup is actually a world war. You think its about football? Every team there can play football their own way. World Cup not about football,its about Country.
    Only a team in which the players can sacrifice themselves,their pride and personal advantages for the sake of fellow player,the fans and the country, can win the World Cup.
    And Uruguay deserve every single inch of accolade they are getting and even higher accreditation.
    For us english,we easily forget our performance in the 1st round and the long array of suggestions we came up with blaming from FA to the clubs,leagues to the players. We forget everything else and now blame,surprisingly,an Uruguayan refree. The FA is ran by same people like us.They'll also suggest and plan many things but like we do,they'll forget,we'll forget and start blaming upon sven/mclaren/capello/the captain/the refree and obviously Maradona(always included).

  • Comment number 52.

    Argentina has not been to the semi-finals since '90 and Argentina bowed out in the Quarters this time as last time.

    @50. I agree. Uruguay has been playing some very good football, it's too bad this controversy has ensued and I hope as many say, that if the free kick was unwarranted which I tend to believe, Uruguay will not let all this bother them. They may have to face a hostile crowd. The officiating has been a real blight to this World Cup especially.

  • Comment number 53.

    "What hurts the most is that It should've been England there and not Uruguay, if they hadn't royally messed it up in the group stages.
    I know some will say that we may not have beaten Ghana or Uruguay, but I bet we would have."

    Delusional. Yes, England should have been there if it wasn't for them playing rubbish football and not being good enough. I hope you haven't lost too much money betting on England in this WC?

    They were lucky to get out of their group and were shown to be the average team they are when tested against quality opposition.

  • Comment number 54.

    @51: Oh, France, the team that got their on a hand ball assisted goal? And look like they would have done better to miss the World Cup all the way around, sure, only Confederations Cup but few teams beat Spain 2-0, I believe the USA did.

  • Comment number 55.

    @54: whom do you see as a greater threat, France or USA? I told that were disjointed and nowhere near their potency. I too thought Ireland would have done better and gone a step further than France.But poking back at the past can't change things at present. Since they are there,they'd give a fight,i thought. But what a joke of a football team they are. They're only alive because platini is alive.

  • Comment number 56.

    Uruguay won in 1930, won in 1950, reached the semis in 1970, last won a WC game in 1990 and reached (at least) the semis in 2010. Is it just me or is there a pattern here? If they don't win this one, roll on 2030!

  • Comment number 57.

    If Uruguay somehow make it past Holland and meet Germany in the final, then Uruguay has some chance of winning the whole thing. If, however, they meet Spain in the final, their chances will be nil.
    Uruguay are more comfortable defending against Germany and Holland than against Spain who will attack, attack and attack with intricate passing on the floor. Spain will unlock their door 3 or 4 times.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    Whoever or whatever Suarez looks to the people of Uruguayans is none of my business but its a shame some people are failing to acknowledge how far Africa and Ghana football have come over recent times instead of criticizing the style of play....this is the furthest Uruguay would reach in this tourney...and Suarez would never get away with the numerous hearts he broke in Africa...anybody can bet!!!

  • Comment number 60.

    Suarez exploited a loophole in the rules. If you handle the ball on the line in the last minute of a World Cup Quarter Final, the maximum punishment the referee can impose is easily outweighed by the chance to stay in the competition.

    Clever, but still cheating.

  • Comment number 61.

    Uruguay Coach Oscar Tabarez says he has a plan to stop Robben.
    Abreu's quote is..."we know how to do it but whether the execution actually comes off is another thing..."
    Isn't execution on a football pitch in front of 50,000 people and all those television cameras a little extreme even for South Americans?

  • Comment number 62.

    Nice blog Jonathan and Happy 30th Birthday for the 18th by the way ;) Your story about visiting the Estadio Centenario was fascinating. Whether by sheer economics or fate it's somewhat poetic that the old stadium and site of Uruguays' first WC finals triumph is still standing 'testament to football from a bygone era'. It made me think that maybe we shouldn't have been so hasty in destroying the old Wembley despite it's inadequacies? If Uruguay go on to win the trophy England will become the 'oldest' winners of the cup that have to look back so far into their history to glory and consolation and we really will have to start talking of our footballing greatness belonging 'to a different age' :(

  • Comment number 63.

    Far too many folk (re: Five Live yesterday evening) are writing these Uruguayans off. I have seen nothing in the Dutch that makes me so confident they are going to progress. Yes, Uruguay have had the easiest path to the semi final (perhaps the easiest in living memory) but they have enough organisation - and firepower - to trouble the Dutch. Good luck to them.

  • Comment number 64.

    Football is a game where cheats prosper.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

  • Comment number 65.

    Oh please, if Ghana scored the penalty, would we be talking about this?
    How many handballs and minor offences happen in every sport and every aspect of life? In the end, people are upset about the consequence, not the motive.

  • Comment number 66.

    I don't agree Ghana would feel cheated, they were rewarded by a Penalty and the player been sent off. They had scored at least two penalties already in the tournament both taken by Gyan, if they are cheated at all, it's by fate. Gyan hit the bar. The keeper was beaten. They shouldn't feel hard done by. I am not so much writing Uruguay off but they are missing a key striker and a key defender, while the Dutch are fully fit and just as confident. Player for player on paper I would have a dutch win, but I think after the quarters, Uruguay have played 2 matches extra time, are missing players, I can't see where the win is coming from.

  • Comment number 67.

    @63. You probably just returned from a 2 year holiday to planet Mars. To get you up to date: Holland has not lost for 24 matches now. Last game they lost was in 2008. They have won every match including qualifiers for this WC2010. Beat Brazil in QF last Friday. In SA they have scored 9 goals, let in 3 of which 2 were penalties. As in the Stock Exchange past results give no guarantees for future success, that is clear. But the dutch have a game plan which obviously works and that is the most important thing to win.

  • Comment number 68.

    Let me be pedantic, the rubbish in the photo is a poor reflection from a really great story you tell. Happy birthday for the 18th. As for being a small nation, if we follow that philosopy China and India should be contesting all the world finals everywhere. But humanity isn't like that!

  • Comment number 69.

    Also, I have read that Uruguay boycotted the 1934 games, maybe this was mentioned because most European powers did not attend the 1930 World Cup.

  • Comment number 70.

    I don't usually comment on blogs as I usually enjoy reading them and view the comments after, either agreeing or disagreeing with their views. However, this has enraged me so much that I felt it necessary to air my own opinion.

    This is quite possibly the most disgraceful blog I have read. I hope all readers, and the person who wrote this blog realise that this would not have had a sniff at getting on the website if Suarez did that to England?! It is an absolute disgrace that this blog celebrates a country getting to the Semi-Finals by cheating, not by deserving to win. I can understand if people get upset when a referee misses a decision - the offside goal that was given to Argentina was a disgrace, and the blatant goal that wasn't given to England was shambolic (it wouldn't have mattered really - England were abysmal and would still have lost the game), Ireland being cheated out of a hand ball against France, and so on.

    But we are forgetting that Suarez CHEATED! It's not the “Hand of God” and to relate it to that is an abomination. Whilst Maradona did indeed cheat by scoring a goal with his hand, it was (dare I say it) graceful, conniving, cunning and it was done in a way that suited his character and the way he played. Because of the way he did it meant that the referee missed it. Basically, it was not blatant.

    Suarez, on the other hand was a complete and utter blatant obstruction of the ball. He knew it was going to be a goal so he put his hand in the way without any cunning or guile that Maradona did (I am not justifying Maradona's goal - he also cheated but as already said it was done in a way that "tricked" the officials and if they don't see they can't give it - simple). The referee in this instance did all he could do as those are the rules that are set out, which meant that Ghana had to rely on a Penalty instead of being given a valid goal.

    Should Ghana have converted the Penalty? Probably. But why should they (or any other team that are unfortunate enough to have this happen to them) have to take a penalty when it was obviously going to be a goal? Should the rules not be changed to prevent this type of injustice from happening?

    Suarez has prevented the first ever African team from getting to the Semi-Final, not by winning fairly, or deserving to win, but through cheating the other team out of a deserved victory. Worst of all he is now regarded as a hero in his country. From my own humble opinion he has further tarnished a sport that has little, or no decency left.

  • Comment number 71.

    Suarez did the right thing (anyone would do the same) and has paid the price, sent off in a world cup 1/4 final, gives away a penalty and misses a world cup semi final. Was completely punished for his actions. His Team on the other hand deserved to win the game as they we by far the better team and it would have been an injustice if Ghana made it through the tie (they had there chance but didn't take it)... I feel Sorry for Gyan for missing such an important kick and the goalkeeper may it very easy for Uruguay in the shootout, it doesn't look like he did his homework on them...

    I hope it's is a cracking game later on, i think the dutch will take it but stranger things have happened!!!!!

  • Comment number 72.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 73.

    @65 "Oh please, if Ghana scored the penalty, would we be talking about this?"

    You may be right but I am glad we are talking about cheating in Football. FIFA should be more pro-active against all forms of cheating. They always fly the 'Fair Play' flag but don't follow through with it.

  • Comment number 74.

    @68. Collie

    On the flip side of this 'small nations' talk, international sides like my own, Northern Ireland, take great delight in the efforts of Uruguay in this tournament and in their previous victories.
    As you say friend, football does not operate in the mathematics of the numbers game but in countless other variations of which thankfully the size of a nation is largely irrelevant in how successful a nation can be.

    Best of luck for the semis and hopefully the final.

    Viva La Celeste.

  • Comment number 75.

    I know many football fans are sick of hearing how they can learn from rugby (respect for the ref, video technology etc etc) but how about a "penalty goal"? If a player \ players commit a foul in rugby when it is likely a try would be scored, the ref gives a try and a conversion from in front of the posts no matter where the try would have been scored. Apply the same to football, in particular goal line hand balls (a la Uruguay) and the injustice would be removed. The ball would have crossed the line without the intervention of the players hand, so give the goal, send the player off (as is the current law) - justice done. Combine it with goal line technology (please Sepp Blatter, pull your head from up your own a*** and embrace the technology) and you have a much improved game for all the enjoy - just a thought !

  • Comment number 76.

    P.S. and with regards other comments on cheating - surely it's time for an independent body to oversee internationals and impose penalties on players caught cheating - again, the IRB does this for rugby with disciplicanry panels, even when the match officials miss something - players can still be sanctioned via video evidence. Perfect example, Kaka's sending off in the group games - opponant went down holding his face when he'd be pushed in the chest - deliberate cheating - indepandant panel reviews and bans him for whatever period justifies the action. Maybe then the players will realise they can't get away with it as camera's will inevitably pick things up - again, just a thought !

  • Comment number 77.

    Excellent blog, its a shame that it has taken Uruguay to reach the Semi's of the WC for people to take notice of this team. I managed to go from having Honduras to working upto Uruguay in my sweepstake and right now could not be happier! As soon as they came first in their group, one could see they had an easier way to the semi's than most teams. I hope they win but think that Sneijder and Robben are two of the best and most creative players in the world and Holland is undoubtedely their biggest test.

    Its true that Suarez will be a massive miss for them but this could be Cavani's moment, at only 23 he can finally play as a forward and not on the wing as he has been. Uruguay have many talented players that have not even been called up, and arguably should have been, like Martinez (new Juventus winger) or super talented 18 year old Hernandez of Palermo. I hope Uruguay win the WC, for many reasons...(sweepstake a big reason), but also it brings what seemed to be part of the History of football back to the present.

    One quick mention about "cheating", I think the fact the most of media and world backed Ghana ( ITV being quite embarrassing in its onesideness) meant this episode has been blown out of proportion. If Gyan has scored the pen, nobody would talk about the handball. This ultimately means that the correct measure was taken as an episode cannot be deemed correct if the outcome of the consequence is different.

  • Comment number 78.

    If ghana had not cheated in getting the free kick which led upto the handball incident then this would never had happened....Irony its fantastic dont you think...cheated to get the free kick, then cheated out of a goal.. thats all square BUT they still had a chance to win with a penalty! And uruguay lose a player...hmmmm..who were the cheaters exactly???

  • Comment number 79.

    Uruguay's pre-tournament preparation has been a big factor in their success in South Africa. I read recently that Tabarez wanted to avoid the same mistakes he made in the run up to Italia 90. This time around they stayed at home until the last minute.

    As for Suarez he did what every other player would have done.

    Good luck Uruguay.

  • Comment number 80.


    I totally agree with both your suggestions.

    First and foremost though if footballers didn't cheat in the first place there would be no need for FIFA to intervence. In golf and snooker the players adhere to a code of sporting ethics.

    And by cheating I mean being unsporting and not adhering to the spirit of the game. Saurez didn't particularly try to hide his actions but he didn't "hold his hands up" either. (Couldn't resist that one)

    Cheating has several meanings. Deception plays a part in some forms of cheating. Another definition is to deprive someone unfairly, did Saurez do that?

  • Comment number 81.

    Seriously, I think that there are too many impressionistic opinions being expressed by people on the blog. The fact that a player intentionally handles a goal bound shot so that his team eventually wins the match does not make it morally right. Can we then absolutely say that any impulsive behaviour,no matter how illegal it might be, should be judged as ultimately right if it helps the cause of an organization or a group. Does truth now become relative? We must understand that our actions have far reaching consequences and should thus not be underplayed. The universal acclaim of soccer makes it so powerful a tool for socialization that, the actions of players like Suarez, Thierry Henry and the like, who border on patriotic lines to cheat others should be stifled by FIFA. Our kids are watching. I rest my case.

  • Comment number 82.

    Luis Suarez will be sent to the Ancestral spirits to explain to them why he caught the ball .He is the greatest thief i have ever witnessed.We GHANAIANS will never forgive him.He stole our shine.Whats annoying is his comments afterwards.Today we are praying they get humiliated by the DUTCH.FIFA shouild learn from this.Suarez should pray for forgiveness from God otherwise he will pay for it.Whats fair paly about.Next time other teams will employ crude means to win games and we will all see what the game will turn into.

  • Comment number 83.


    Could not have put it better myself. Maybe FIFA could learn a few things by looking at other sports.

    Hup Holland Hup!

  • Comment number 84.

    Suarez did not cheat.
    Suarez committed a handball offence, for which he was correctly punished according to the rules. Is being off-side cheating? Sometimes in sport, commiting an offence is the only option. Cheating is something different.
    He didn't set out to injure anyone, and he didn't pretend to the referee he was innocent. In my book, he sacrificed himself for the team. He missed out on the semi final, but gave the team a chance of going through.
    I would say this was (particularly at that moment in extra time of a world cup qtr final) probably the most extreme example in football of where commiting an offence is actually worth it - contrast with rugby, an equivalent option for the referee is to award a penalty try, though I couldn't see fifa going down that route - but that's not Suarez's fault is it?
    Best of luck to them. Every one of the semi-finalists deserves to be there.

  • Comment number 85.


    Are you suggesting that because Ghana got a free kick by diving that is wrong, but when Uruguay did it just as much throughout the match that is totally fine? Uruguay in every single other match has dived in order get a free kick. EVERY team has. I don't like it - I hate diving and cannot stand the fact that it is such a part of the game now, and anyone who gets caught doing it should be sent off, not given a yellow card.

    But unfortunately diving is now part of the game just as much as it is scoring, tackling, hitting the post, taking a corner etc. Deliberatly handling the ball to prevent it going over the line from anyone except the goalkeeper is NOT part of the game.

    So it's not irony really is it? It's unfortunately now a case of it being part of the game, which I don't like, but because it's about so much it is now a case of "the Pot calling the Kettle black" Now an ugly part of the "beautiful" game this can't be considered "ironic" that it came back to bite them.


    Your comments regarding a penalty goal are spot on. Could not agree more.

  • Comment number 86.

    If there is any justice, Netherlands will win. Maybe FIFA should revisit handball on the goal line punishment and if it would have been a certain goal (as determined by the 4th official (thats another story)), award the goal and send the player off. Simples.

  • Comment number 87.

    This is garbage Suarez instinctively did what anyone who has ever played football would do and that is try to stop the ball going into the net, I expect England would have taken that route to the semi final or Ghana for that matter. Uruguay could ask whether it should have been a free kick leading up to the incident or Paraguay why they didn't get to take the penalty again seeing as the Spanish Goalkeeper was off his line and half the spanish team were level with the penalty taker prior to him kicking the ball.

    I would love Uruguay to win as I have followed them since 1970 and although they are the underdogs and the least fancied of all the sides they are in with a shout. I take comfort in the fact that the favourites haven't faired well in the competition so far and the side's history and pedigree is often forgotten by commentatators and pundits (Any side winning the World cup against Brazil in Brazil deserves credit)... also there is a nought in the year. Uruguay like Holland have been consistent throughout the tournament and have faced opposition from all of the federations on their way to the semi-finals (except Oceania) So at least they can claim to be World Champions

    However this team fare tonight I will still be proud to wear the Uruguay shirt as I have all through the tournament and if they lose either tonight or in the final then I'll take a small consolation knowing I don't have to buy another shirt just yet (added star if they win)

    Come on La Celeste

  • Comment number 88.

    i think that this is what footballs all about! A country rejoiced by sucess, instead of cutting a team down they stand up and support!! True Support! I would love to see them win as they are the true underdogs of the Tournement now, and i wish them all the best!

  • Comment number 89.

    this argument that most players would do what suarez did is absolutely fallacious and holds no water. assuming that most players would do that, that does make what he did right?? it's totally ridiculous. what he did was totally unprofessional (same with what any other player has done in the past). he did not display sportsmanship and the spirit of fairplay. what he did ought to be condemned rather than 'reasoned' away with the argument that most other players would have done the same. it's shameful. let's save the game we love before all outfield players become emergency goalkeepers because after all it only result in a red card, a penalty and only a one match ban. WHAT A JOKE!!!

  • Comment number 90.

    74. At 10:56am on 06 Jul 2010, Ronnie-McFall-And-His-Syrup-of-Figs wrote:
    @68. Collie

    On the flip side of this 'small nations' talk, international sides like my own, Northern Ireland, take great delight in the efforts of Uruguay in this tournament and in their previous victories.
    As you say friend, football does not operate in the mathematics of the numbers game but in countless other variations of which thankfully the size of a nation is largely irrelevant in how successful a nation can be.

    Best of luck for the semis and hopefully the final.

    Viva La Celeste.
    Sorry for the mislead bud, I am from Dublin and Live in France :-), girlfriend is Italian, it's been a painful world cup. :-)

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    Excelent article !
    Suarez action is in a senseless argue.
    Cheatin is when you make an illegal action and don't get punished for it. Suarez was punished and set off and misses one match, on the other had :) Luis Fabiano (we all see that) used his hand not once but twice to score a goal, and wasn't punished that's cheating.
    For those that are young in Italy 1990, the same happened to Uruguay against Spain, but the spaniard players wasn't sent off ( rule was writen later) and the striker missed the penalty for Uruguay.
    But why the world still argue about it, simple, because the striker missed the penalty and his team didn't make it to the semis, otherwise no one would care about it.
    Unfair ? Perhaps, but depends on your side, of course they are mad about it and blame Suarez for his action, but he didn't missed the penalty, and finally for the other side... In first place it was not a foul but a dive, and when the first headed there are 2 ghana men in offside, so all the action should be stoped, Suarez wouldn't be sent off, and he would be able to play semis.

  • Comment number 93.

    OMG, this upsets me..
    Robben's diving actions? Damn, if u use your eyes you could see they keep kicking Robben.. They want to eliminate Robben because they see him a a threat. He hasn't made any 'schwalbe' so far. Though it's a german word (which the germans do deserve)but it should be spanish. I can get really angry of all the South American teams. They pretend they fall just to get a penalty. U call that winning? I think it's weak if you cant win with good football.
    But I'm happy Uruguay is known for faking. And i hope the referee will watch carefully. Holland is going to be in the final for sure.. So save your breath with complaining!

    (English isnt my first language so I'm sorry if i made mistakes haha)

  • Comment number 94.

    Really good article.
    Uruguay deserve all our respet.

  • Comment number 95.

    football does not operate in the mathematics of the numbers game but in countless other variations of which thankfully the size of a nation is largely irrelevant in how successful a nation can be. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    Suarez sacrificed himself, and his celebrations showed that his primary concern was his country, not the fact he himself would miss the biggest game of his life. He didn't seem to stop for a second to think about his own fate.

    The English could learn a thing or two from the selfless attitude and deep pride of the Uruguayans. That is why a tiny country of 3.5 million with limited wealth can achieve so much more than England.

  • Comment number 98.

    Sleeping Spurs - I don't agree that we can learn about pride. I would have no pride in an England team who had to resort to cheating (def. Unsporting Play) in order to win. When English players blatantly cheat I condemn it.

    Why should we condone bad sportsmanship just becuase Uraguay is a tiny country? I don't want to particularly single out Uraguay as cheating is rife in Football, it's just that Saurez's cynical behaviour is the perfect example to start a debate on the lack of sportsmanship in football.

    As for the free-kick which preceeded the "hand-of-the-angel" incident not being legitimate. Both teams were guilty throughout the match of feigning contact, exaggerating injury etc. which sometimes fools the ref. Like any cheating it shouldn't be condoned but Uraguay were as guilty of it IMO so I don't see how they can legitimately complain about that.

    Ultimately if footballers are unwilling to act sportingly FIFA should act to revise the laws (poss. Penalty goal) and clamp down on cheating generally with retrospective video reviews and bans.

  • Comment number 99.

    Penalty Goal awarded if the ball was stopped from going in by a players arm or hand. The ref decides whether or not it was going in. If it was going in then give it. If it's Ball-to-hand which I think you could argue is true of Kewell then no card. If it's deliberate which no-one would argue with re. Saurez then straight-red and suspension. Again up to the ref to decide.

    This sort of thing doesn't happen too often and would happen less if the above were enacted in law. What would be the point of Saurez deciding to handball it if it resulted in a goal anyway.

    Personally I think Saurez might of had a good chance of stopping it legitimately if he'd tried but he decided to make sure by using his hands. This is a fundamental aspect of football that distinguishes itself from other ball games. It's harder to control a ball without your hands. That's why the game is challenging and requires skill. It is skill that we should applaud not cheating.

  • Comment number 100.

    Unfortunately the handball will forever blight whatever Uruguay achieve in this world cup. If I was them, i'd rather go out of the world cup with my head held high than have history document this for posterity. Its just the way things are...i'm afraid!!!


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