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Luis Suarez - hero or villain?

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Paul Fletcher | 02:20 UK time, Saturday, 3 July 2010

World Cup 2010: Pretoria

I am struggling to remember a more dramatic end to a World Cup match than Friday's classic quarter-final tie between Uruguay and Ghana at Soccer City.

Luis Suarez's goal-line handball from Dominic Adiyiah in the dying seconds of extra-time saved a certain goal but resulted in a red card for the Ajax striker and a penalty that was, literally, the last kick of the game before the shoot-out.

Asamoah Gyan, scorer of two spot-kicks already in South Africa, stood just one strike of the football from taking an African team to the last four of the World Cup for the first time.

He had an entire continent behind him, willing him to score, but heartbreakingly for the 24-year-old, his strike skimmed the crossbar and flew into the stand behind the goal.

Moments after his miss the camera cut to Suarez, who had left the field in a state of despondency but was now overcome by sheer, unadulterated fist-pumping joy.

His gamble had paid off in spectacular style.

Minutes later Gyan showed remarkable guts and resilience to score the first Ghanaian penalty of the shoot-out but Fernando Muslera subsequently saved from John Mensah and Adiyiah.

Sebastian Abreu then delivered a stunning coup de grace with an ice-cool looping penalty kick that took an age to reach the net. Stranded Black Stars goalkeeper Richard Kingson could only look on having already dived to his right.

Abreu, a journeyman of 17 clubs in seven countries, was mobbed by his jubilant team-mates but it was Suarez who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

Suarez explained afterwards that he knew he could not stop Adiyiah's effort with his head and so used his hand. The huge grin on his face as he spoke to reporters indicated in the clearest terms possible that he had no regrets about what he had done.

But was it clear-cut, blatant out-right cheating or professionalism that ought to be applauded?

Uruguay's celebrating players were in no doubt that Suarez was a hero (Reuters)

I heard several angry people describe it afterwards as the sort of despicable behaviour that needed to be stamped out.

"The referee should have awarded a goal," said understandably disappointed Ghana defender John Pantsil, although I personally don't see how Olegario Benquerenca could have given anything other than a penalty if the ball did not cross the line.

Panstil added: "There is no chance that any of us Ghana players would have used our hand to stop the ball - no way."

It is difficult not to have some sympathy for Pantsil and his team-mates. They had been the better side during extra-time and could not have come any closer to a dramatic winner.

The vast majority of the 84,017 inside Soccer City were behind them, while Milovan Rajevac's team had the support of the African continent in general.

"Go BaGhana" said Friday's headline in The Citizen newspaper, a neat play on Bafana Bafana, while The Times suggested "We Ghana win it".

At one point on Friday I even heard a chant of "Ghana, Ghana, Ghana" momentarily drown out the sound of the vuvuzela.

Ultimately Ghana's exploits in South Africa have ensured a measure of respectability for the continent after a disappointing group stage that saw the other five African teams fail to qualify.

They have a young side, with seven of the starting XI in Johannesburg 25 or under, and should have a bright future. Despite his agonising Friday, Gyan is a striker of real quality, while young holding midfielder Anthony Annan looks to be a player of immense promise.

The Black Stars became only the third African side after Cameroon and Senegal to reach the last eight and came within a whisker of a place in the last four - and did so without Michael Essien, their best player.

Uruguay were not so much trying to break new ground, as emulate past glories and the victory for Oscar Tabarez's team gave them their first semi-final place since 1970

The manner of La Celeste's progression might disgust some but that should not detract from their overall form in South Africa.

They have just conceded two goals in five games and for a country with a population of 3.5 million, reaching this stage of the competition is a stunning achievement.

I saw their opening game against France and must admit I wondered how they were going to enrich this tournament. They played three in the centre of defence, packed the midfield and lacked ambition.

I had underestimated them.

They had got the point they wanted against the group favourites and played a more expansive game against South Africa, winning 3-0, and have also gone on to defeat Mexico and South Korea.

Suarez and Forlan, who equalised against Ghana with a free-kick, have scored six goals at the World Cup.

They have perhaps been the most formidable strike partnership in the tournament and the absence of Ajax striker Suarez will be a major blow when they take on the Netherlands in Cape Town on Tuesday.

"It is a pity, he made a great save today," said a clearly delighted Forlan, who rated Friday as the greatest night of his career.

"Suarez is one of the heroes. He didn't score a goal but he saved one and now we are in the semi-final."

How Suarez's actions are interpreted is a matter of culture as well as perspective.

What might be regarded in Europe or Africa as cheating is seen as cunning or exploitation of the rules in other parts of the world.

It could be seen as a moral question or an issue of sportsmanship but, despite what Pantsil said, does anybody really think that professional players all over the world would not have done the same thing?

Suarez did what was required to keep his team in the contest - and there is no doubt that if Suarez had not handled the ball his team would now be reflecting on a defeat, not the high-point in Uruguayan football for 40 years.

"I thought we were out," said Forlan of the moment when Gyan prepared to take his penalty.

"I was convinced we were going home. When I saw the ball go into the stand it was unbelievable - Suarez saved us."

You can follow me throughout the World Cup at


Page 1 of 16

  • Comment number 1.

    I think FIFA should apply rules that are similar to Rugby when dealing with fouls to prevent obvious goals. "Penalty Try" could have awarded Ghana the goal, and a red/yellow card to Suarez.

  • Comment number 2.

    #1 - Agreed. But why oh why did he put so much power in the kick?? He played so well and totally blew it at the last!

    None of us will ever be in the position but id gamble in the heat of the moment we would all do the same thing. Its zero loss sum. If he hadnt they were definitely out. Maybe wrong but thats life

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

    From a neutral/Ghana perspective, Suarez is a cheat. But if I were in Suarez's position I would have done the same thing, definate elimination or probable elimination? No contest.

  • Comment number 5.

    He is a hero if he plays for your country but a villain if he plays for someone else's.

  • Comment number 6.

    Suarez is neither hero or villain.

    The Ghanaian's and all those who supported them should instead be asking Gyan how he could smash the ball over from 12 yards out, rather than take out their frustrations on the Uruguayan player.

    When you miss an opportunity like that.... quite frankly you don't deserve to go through.

  • Comment number 7.

    After thinking about this i believe its a "non story".

    Its Africa's World Cup and because this happened against an African team there's almost a witchunt for some form of retributional justice. If for example it had been at the other end,and say Pantsil had handled on the line im sure it wouldnt be such a major talking point.

    Saurez was sent off and Gyan had a great chance to win it, he didnt. Ghana then had a chance in the shoot out, they again didnt take it.

    If this were England, would we have the same reaction? No we probably wouldnt. If John Terry had done the same the likelihood is he wouldve been a Lionheart.

    Ghana were adopted by fans across the world as the African hope, a Footballing Rocky Balboa, Uruguay were cast as Ivan Drago, only this time, Drago won.

  • Comment number 8.

    Again I'm with number 1 ... but in the absence of a law permitting this action..
    Just blow the whistle and point to the center spot ... I saw it cross the line .. The Refs decision is final any argument send a few off.. sorted and justice done by ignoring the rules!

    What ever happened to the obstruction law?

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    Whether it was meant or instinctive, does it really matter? If Ghana had scored their resulting pemalty, would we be having this debate?
    As it is, the situation is as follows ....

    As Ghana snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the scriptwriter accepts his Oscar ...

    You have to love football. In what other game could you get such twists in the tale, and on a fairly regular basis too !! Not even a Hollywood scriptwriter would come up with this, for fear of being told it is not believable.

    We all know it happens, but from 12 yards, with only the keeper to beat, you should never miss ...... and if you do it often carries a price.

  • Comment number 11.

    Applauded?...are you ok in the head?! How can cheating ever be applauded?

  • Comment number 12.

    I see shirt pulling, tripping and diving in EVERY game. All forms of cheating, Why get so uptight over this instance. All cheating is wrong not just the high profile case.

  • Comment number 13.

    It is complete nonsense to think that Ghana, or any other team in a world cup quarter final, would have done things differently to Suarez and Uruguay. Sportsmanship? Don't make me laugh. The stakes are much higher than that. People have become tunnel visioned backing Ghana at all costs, the coverage of the game last night was bad enough, but the bias against Uruguay is actually making me feel a bit sick. Suarez took one for the team, it's definitely not an act to applaud- and there's nothing heroic about it, but he will be banned for the semi. That's as far as Uruguay will go anyway. But to think that a 'fair playing' nation like Ghana wouldn't have done the same in that situation is rubbish. Turn your blinkers off people!

  • Comment number 14.

    Suárez is a hero. He a sacrificed himself for his team. He gave his team another chance to avoid defeat and a Ghana goal. Gyan missed the penalty that would have put Ghana in the semi-final. Gyan is to blame for not making the most of this opportunity. Suárez knew he would be punished for his action. He will not play in the semi-final, as punishment for his handball. Yet his team-mates will, because of Suárez's sacrifice. And before even attempting to call him a cheat, for using legitimate rules to his advantage, think of these two words: THIERRY HENRY. He handled the ball TWICE and HAS NOT been punished yet....

  • Comment number 15.

    There is little doubt that a penalty goal should have been awarded (after the necessary rule change) otherwise cheating can pay - as in this case.
    I also support camera technology - it has great audience appeal at Wimbledon and Rugby League matches. As well as the ref having the option of getting replay assistance, the team captains should have (like tennis) up to 3 failed appeals each.
    Trial this at ManU or Chelsea?

  • Comment number 16.

    How about the fact that the free kick leading up to the handball, was never a freekick and a very poor decision by the ref?

    Any other footballer in the world would have done the same, to say he is a cheat is rubbish, if a pen wasnt given and he wasn't sent off then he could b labelled a cheat, he got a red card and a pen was given - end of. Ghana's fault if they missed it.

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

    Is there a great deal of difference between a handball off the line and a deliberate trip when someone is possibly about to score such as the trip on Abreu by Pantsil? At least Ghana got a penalty.

  • Comment number 19.

    Panstil added: "There is no chance that any of us Ghana players would have used our hand to stop the ball - no way."

    But going down in nothing challenges clutching various parts of their body is clearly not above them. There were plenty of times durign the game when Ghana players were diving and some of them in the penalty area. In fact I'm pretty sure the free kick that lead to the incident shouldn't have been awarded.

    Suarez was sent off and Ghana given a penalty it is their own fault for not ocnverting it, if the rules stated a goal is awarded then Suarez probably wouldn't have done it. So he took a big gamble and took one for his team.

  • Comment number 20.

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

  • Comment number 21.

    Suarez did what ANYONE would have done.

    Anyone who says otherwise is either a liar or a fool.

  • Comment number 22.

    I can't believe people are saying that this is a form of cheating. This isn't the first time it's been done- there's already been a fair few times where I've seen outfield players blocking the ball with their hands. The only difference this time is that the opposing team usually scores, and if they didn't, would play against 10 men for the rest of the game.

  • Comment number 23.

    I am not Uruguayan, but there is no doubt in my mind that Suarez is a hero. Ghana was about to score. He knew that his move would get him expelled and there would be a penalty. But with a penalty there is an off chance that it might be shot wide, which is exactly what happened. His gamble paid off, that's it, and he did it in the last seconds of the game so his red card was not a handicap to his team. He sacrificed himself, don't you get it? He was in tears when he left the field. In fact, to me he would have been a hero even if Ghana had scored the penalty and won the game. I'm certain that's the way Uruguayans would have felt even if they had lost. The Uruguayans were a lot luckier today than the Ghanans were, but you can't eliminate the element of luck from soccer.

  • Comment number 24.

    Suarez cheated, and as a result, he got a red card.

    Am I the only one thinking this is a non-story?

  • Comment number 25.

    The penalty was awful, Gyan clearly going for glory by blasting the ball. Why didn't he just place it?! Uruguay have are running out of steam, relied too heavily on Forlan and Suarez - it's a very average team without the likes of those two. Also I don't think they've had the hardest path to the semis - fairly easy group (France were in turmoil). They've had a bit of luck and it will run out against Holland. Justice will be done!

  • Comment number 26.

    Fair play to the lad. If it had been England in that position, Rooney or whoever on the line, he'd be our hero. As you rightly call it, he 'took one for the team'.

  • Comment number 27.

    No debate here. Goalline technology yes. Redcard and penalty more than enough punishment. Great gamble from Suarez, unlucky for Gyan.

  • Comment number 28.

    Suarez is a hero. Cheating? Get a life. He saved his country and his team mates. He got punished. Ghana got a penalty and missed.
    Its a simple game. And for all those who wish to change the rules so we can cater for our sentimental wishes, please go and support a different game. Football is the beautiful game. And it is moments like last night that make it so.

  • Comment number 29.

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

  • Comment number 30.

    I would have done the same thing.

    Wouldn't you have?

    Everything went by the rules, so there should be no complaints.

  • Comment number 31.

    People don't seem to mention that it was never a free kick that led to the Suarez handball! And as an Irish man i would have loved the chance to have taken France to penalties and have Henry sent off. Ghana had the chance didn't take it. Best game to this world cup will live in my memory. Forlan is a great player please someone bring him back to the prem

  • Comment number 32.

    Many (maybe all) would have done the same, and that's fine. But a penalty is a unique, confidence sapping event which gives the defending team another chance to save a goal.

    I agree with some others here, if a shot is goal bound and there is no-one behind the the player who handballs, then a goal should be awarded. Simple.

  • Comment number 33.

    People don't seem to mention that it was never a free kick that led to the Suarez handball! And as an Irish man i would have loved the chance to have taken France to penalties and have Henry sent off. Ghana had the chance didn't take it. Best game to this world cup will live in my memory. Forlan is a great player please someone bring him back to the prem

    Not a free kick because the Ghanab player dived (cheated).

  • Comment number 34.

    He didn't cheat though. Cheating happens when con someone and then get away with it. He was rightly sent off and will miss the semi-final. Credit to Suarez for taking the initiative but Ghana only have themselves to blame for missing the penalty. They themselves would not begrudge such an outcome if the roles have been reversed. Its that simple.

    All Suarez did was give Uruguay a very slim chance of winning. It was a massive gamble and it paid off.

  • Comment number 35.

    Was it breaking the rules? Yes, it certainly was, which is why Suarez was sent off.
    Suarez knew full well that he was swapping guaranteed elimination for his sending off and possible qualification and he took the gamble. Any player in the world would have done the same thing and I don't think he can be criticized too harshly for it as players break the rules all the time. After all, if no-one ever broke the rules on the football pitch there would be no need for a Referee and Linesmen!

  • Comment number 36.

    @ menmartey

    I agree with most people all over the world calling for the penalty try employed in rugby to be applied


    You're in a minority mate.

    I'm not even Uruguayan and I'm almost proud of Suarez!!

    In a split second the lad sacrificed his name, his rep., a place in the semi finals of the WC for his mates and his country.

    And his gamble paid off.

    Way to go Suarez!

  • Comment number 37.

    He is a cheat end of, europeans it seems do not want African teams to go through or succeed.

    If it had been england against argies and veron had done the same, in the wc final, he would have beeen a cheat end of.

    In the end it shows on the greatest stage, cheating prevails! but on the same hand gyan had a chance to score he failed, bad for him. It was still cheating regardless

  • Comment number 38.

    Pantsil is a cheating hypocrite!
    What goes around comes around. Sorry for Ghana, but loved seeing him cry!

  • Comment number 39.

    good point from ronan1984
    it was never a free kick leading to the penalty and the time was up anyway

  • Comment number 40.

    Suarez the hero,

    Come on be honest boys, this guy has taken one for the team, thats what the world cup is about, if that was Stevie G or Frank Lampard they would be held as heros, come to mention it if england had any players willing to take one for the team they would likely still in the WC.

    Suarez denied them a goal but he didnt miss the pen.

  • Comment number 41.

    He committed an offence and got sent off, end of story. If Ghana had scored that would have been an injustice. The incident came from a free kick awarded because of some theatrics from a Ghana player.

    All in all the right result as there was only one cheat in the last minute of the game and he was from Ghana.

  • Comment number 42.

    Suárez is being vilified because an African team was eliminated. Most of the world was supporting Ghana but fortunately there were a few non-Uruguay citizens (such as me) rooting for Uruguay, because a Benfica player is the squad. At least there will now be a stop to all this non-sense of "Africa's World Cup" (as if Germany, France and Italy considered their world cup to be "Europe's World Cup" or the USA and Brazil consider the 1994 World Cup to be "America's World Cup" LOL).

  • Comment number 43.

    This goes to sum up football. People say it's not cheating. It is. But pretending to be hurt to get advantage and cheating is part of the game. Should there be a law to say a goal can be given such as the penalty try rule in rugby? Possibly a good case for it, but it won't happen. Someone actually said this type of incident makes football interesting. A bit like the England non-goal. That kind of says it all. A sad reflection on the game. The players actually celebrating this guy for cheating is another example of why football players shouldn't be held up as any sort ofheros or role models.

  • Comment number 44.

    SUAREZ IS DEFINITELY A HERO. His act was penalised, he was sent off and Ghana missed their opportunity: they showed again and again that they struggled to score even through penalties. Uruguay is undoubtedly an achiever. It has 3 million people and has managed to reach this stage of the competition despite having part of Europe and Africa against them. Hats off to Uruguay! Very well done. I would not be surprised at all if they beat the Dutch. Very well deserved!

  • Comment number 45.

    Cheating is trying to win using means outside the rules. There are two interpretations: (1) Suarez cheated by using a means outside the rules. However, every player fouling deliberately, claiming a throw in that isn't their's or feigning some sort of injury does the same. Stand up all Ghana players who did not do that during the tournament! (2) Suarez played within rules that saw a red card and penalty exchanged for a goal (no different in principle to a player who may concede a throw in to prevent an attacking situation). In both cases, there is no "principle" Suarez violated that others don't routinely violate too; 20 times a game. It was just that the stakes involved in this incident were many times higher. I feel deeply sorry for Ghana, particularly the lion-hearted Gyan, but feelings are a different matter to a reality.

  • Comment number 46.

    It was cheating but you certainly can't blame him.

    At the end of the day cheating goes on in every game. Shirt pulling, diving, fouling someone who is clean through on goal (Paul Allan 1980 anyone!) Heck if you ask me the lack of honesty shown by the German keeper is worse than what Suarez did. At least Suarez was blatent!

  • Comment number 47.

    37. At 09:42am on 03 Jul 2010, Ariyo69 wrote:

    He is a cheat end of, europeans it seems do not want African teams to go through or succeed.


    Don't be such a racist. I'm a European and I don't know anybody who wanted Uruguay to win, especially after that appalling cheating.

    I agree that the "penalty goal" option should be available to the referee, otherwise cheats can prosper in this way.

  • Comment number 48.

    To be honest, the scenario that played out in the last few minutes of the match was so out of there that I doubt anyone would've predicted it. 'twas a nice save by Suarez - too bad for him that he's a striker and not a goalkeeper, so he paid the price. Cheating? He definitely violated the rules, which is one of the definitions of cheating if I'm not mistaken. He was also punished according to the current laws of the game and he'll probably get a 2 or 3 match ban. Too light a punishment? Probably according to most, but I know I'm terribly biased when that rotten, cheating, diving and whining illegitimate son of a platipus is involved, so I shan't say any more.

    As a Dutchy, I can, however, appreciate the result of the match with the team that's now facing us having lost a striker that already put a few in the net.

  • Comment number 49.

    It is silly to believe that a Ghana player would not have done something similar, of course they would have, isn't that the job of a footballer, to try to win the match any way they can?
    The important thing is being a winner at all costs; that's what's expected, that's what's respected and that's what's so ugly about football.

    The fact that this injustice is even up for debate is shocking. The law prevents someone from gaining from an unlawful act, it's basic justice. However in the skewed world of football normal justice doesn't apply. Sad really...

  • Comment number 50.

    "I would have done the same thing.

    Wouldn't you have?"

    I speak only for myself of course when i say no I wouldn't. If the ball was going to hit my face or something then I cannot vouch for instinctive reactions, but the player had to move his hands to the ball. You can sell your soul or your grandmother if you like mate.

    I however think that in a sporting context ("Sporting" you understand yes?) players should not get away with cheating even for a second if they cant win fair and square then they should not be allowed to compete. If the game has devolved to the extent that winning is so important that players must cheat then the game can no longer be considered a sporting contest, and has merely become another trivial soap opera, which I guess in many ways that is exactly what it has become. Who needs honour and integrity anyway right?

  • Comment number 51.

    It was clear goal without handball. As it was in the last minute of open play Uruguay did not have to play with 10 men vs 11 men. I don't think any has ever considered this scenerio.

    It means that toward the end of extra time your defender might as well become extra goalkeepers because you only have a few minutes to play out with 10 men. If it were the World Cup Final you might as well do it, because there no after it.

    I think the only way to deal with this is to have an extended ban on Suarez for a least the rest of the World Cup, or have an open goal penalty, or just award the goal.

  • Comment number 52.


    It was cheating, but who else would do any different when in injury time of extra time?
    suarez got the red card (so couldn't take a penalty), and gyan missed - not suarez's fault.
    He can't even play in the semi-final, so he's putting himself on the line for his team...


  • Comment number 53.

    Plenty of English players have done exactly what Suarez done in the Premier League but I don't remember the 'holier than thou' English brigade describing them as despicable disgraceful cheats.

    Every single player on this planet would have saved the ball with their hands no matter what they say. And no one can tell me otherwise, not even the Ghana players because when you are put in the instinctive position that Suarez found himself in i.e. stop the ball with your hands and give your nation a chance to win the world cup, even the pope would have 'cheated'.

    If you want to describe Suarez as a cheat, then you should label the Ghana player who 'cheated' the referee out of a free kick as a despicable disgrace. He conned the referee to give his team a chance to win the match...

    Suarez is a hero. HERRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 54.

    Ghana players coming out and saying 'we wouldn't have done it' is complete and utter rubbish - for a start it's largely instinctive, you don't always think in a split second 'I'm going to handball this' and I believe Ghana were called for a few handballs (one blatant from what I remember) during the game, so they won't handle it on the line but they will in the middle of the park? Stupid comment.

  • Comment number 55.



  • Comment number 56.

    This is nonsense. He did something that under the laws of the game is punishable by a red card and penalty kick. Did he not get a red card and Ghana get a penalty kick? I don't think anyone who understands the game can call this cheating, it was instinctive and any player in the world would have done the same thing, in fact his team mate on the line attempted to do the very same thing.

    Can I just add that ITVs commentary was the most biased piece of 'reporting' I have ever seen in my life and had everyone in our house rooting for Uruguay and then after the match was almost sickening, you would had thought there had been a major disaster on UK soil and to say on air and all agree with the Uruguay 'cheats' it was beyond belief. More quality journalism from this fine television station...

  • Comment number 57.

    The handball - "Any professional would have done the same"
    I think that summarises what's wrong with football, it's not a 'sport' in the true sense of the word, the sport doesn't matter to them, it's just the winning at any price.

  • Comment number 58.

    I don't blame Suarez (he did what most would do) and Ghana weren't robbed, since the rules were applied correctly, but it was the wrong outcome. In cases where a foul prevents a certain goal, a penalty is inadequate and the referee should have the power to award the goal; a "penalty goal" as in the "penalty try" rule in rugby union. This clear and beneficial rule change is required in order to cater for these rare (but potentially crucial) events. There's a more compelling case for this than there is for "goal line technology" and it should be brought in ASAP. But too late for Ghana unfortunately.

  • Comment number 59.

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

  • Comment number 60.

    "weezer316 wrote:
    None of us will ever be in the position but id gamble in the heat of the moment we would all do the same thing. Its zero loss sum. If he hadnt they were definitely out. Maybe wrong but thats life"

    Well it won't "life" soon because you will see FIFA change the rules. Not sure how though.

    Football dropped its last ball handling rules in 1860s, lets keep it that way.

  • Comment number 61.

    I can't believe that some people are saying he made a great sacrifice. Do people have no idea what sacrifice means - sacrifice is costly - this cost nothing to Suarez as his team would certainly have gone out of the World Cup. He is a cheat and should feel ashamed of himself.

  • Comment number 62.

    Looking at the bigger picture i wont say it was a blatant robbery to stop Ghana. Because the freekick was controversial and also the referee followed FIFA rules and red carded Suarez. However the incident has highlighted FIFA more than anything else.
    FIFA has got to act now. Forget about who won that game. Suarez has just taken cheating to a whole new level. He has pioneered. You dont even need to pretend and make a handball look accidental. You can literally volley with intent, and then run down the tunnel celebrating. FIFA unwillingness to adapt to changing times means the farcical incidents on football pitches is increasing by the day.
    FIFA must create a replay and referral system for referees now. Also create a new rule that handballs on the goal line are awarded a goal and not a penalty. And those that deliberately handball on replays must be severely punished by FIFA after the game. No doubt in my mind that Suarez needs a very lengthy ban for what he did and a huge fine. Ban him from the rest of the tournament and ban him from playing club and international for 6 months or more.
    I think it sets a very bad precedent if Uruguay sneak past Holland this guy is then in the final.

  • Comment number 63.

    We normally complain that a penalty and a subsequent sending-off is like being punished twice!!!

    All those who are lamenting about the fact that Ghana missed the penalty really ought to get some perspective before talking about the morality issues regarding Suarez.

    As for Pantsil's comments, "There is no chance that any of us Ghana players would have used our hand to stop the ball - no way."

    Yeah, whatever.

  • Comment number 64.

    @Michael83: Agree completely. Typical English to start whining.

  • Comment number 65.

    To say he is a cheat is so stupid, if anyone of you lot were in the situation you would have done the same. If this was a team you have defended his actions, good on him!!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    ghana blew it simples, they had a golden opportunity to score and they wasted it and uruguay captilized on it, so fair play to uruguay, outrageous last penalty, if he missed that he would of got slaughtered by pundits and journalists.

  • Comment number 67.

    I am sorry to see Ghana go out. However I need to point out that amongst all the hand ringing about Suarez's handball, the free-kick that led to him needing to block the ball with his hands, should never have been given. I noticed that all the media outlets have conveniently failed to show the replay of Adiyiah tripping himself in the lead up to the goal. We have also not talked about Pantsil's trip on Abreu earlier in extra time that should have led to a Uruguay penalty. Having said that I have thoroughly enjoyed Ghana's football in the World Cup. I hope we see a lot more of them.

  • Comment number 68.

    This sort of thing happens so often everywhere, so it's a wonder it's receiving so much attention. According to his own account of the incident, Suarez committed a deliberate handball on the line for which the referee awarded the correction sanctions - a penalty and Suarez's dismissal. So Ghana are now playing against a weakened team (albeit for only a few minutes) and they get a free shot at goal from 12 yards, and under the rules, that's fair. (What more does John Pantsil want?) The Uruguay coach Tabarez ought also to drop his silly 'defence' of Suarez's actions as being 'instinctive'. It was nothing of the kind, it was cheating. Therefore I don't see how Suarez can be hailed as a hero. And since Suarez can still play in the World Cup final if Uruguay qualify, he hasn't really paid the ultimate sacrifice, has he?

  • Comment number 69.

    The penalty try in football is a complete nonsense. Where would be the line drawn? Referees awarding goals willy nilly is not acceptable, if the ball does not cross the line for whatever reason no goal is awarded.

  • Comment number 70.

    I have another two words for you: Harry Kewell. He was sent off against Ghana, for the same incident. He stopped the ball going in by using his hand. He was sent off, Gyan scored. All was good. No one was discussin and making a big deal of the incident.

    Now, Suarez does the exact same thing. He was sent off. Gyan Missed. Ghana lose to penalties. Now, people are calling Suarez "a dirty little cheat" when every person in the world would have done the same thing, even the ones that are calling him a cheat.

    If Gyan had scored or Ghana had won, we would not have had this discussion. If a Ghanaian, player had done that and Ghana had won, we would not have called that person a cheat, probably would have praised him. He would have been a Hero...Africas Hero...Hand Of God all over again.

  • Comment number 71.

    First of all it was no GAMBLE! He had absolutely nothing to lose. Red card? semi final? don't be stupid. Had the ball passed him at that second it would have been bye bye south Africa. Now,he may get to A WORLD CUP FINAL!! Anywhere else on the pitch when its a free kick, it'll be taken from where it happened and its fair. The same should apply here. The ball will be on the goal line which where was stopped illegally! then a foul plus a red card.A penalty should be an advantage in every aspect.

  • Comment number 72.

    "The rule is: if you deny your opposition a goal or a goalscoring chance by deliberately handling you are sent off and get a penalty."

    But there's no reason why the rule can't be changed in the future. And calling Ghana dumb for missing a penalty is pathetic. Anyone who doesn't think they would be outraged if it happened to their team is deluding themselves.

  • Comment number 73.

    Good game, in an ordinary tournament. Don't know what the fuss is all about; this infringement happens in matches on a regular basis. Saurez committed an offence and got punished for it. I struggle to understand why people get upset about anything in football.

    On a more general note is there another sport where professional players spend as much time trying to break the rules of the game they are playing? Football has very little integrity and its soul is hard to find. I'm not sure it would be in very good condition even if it was found. Corrupted.

  • Comment number 74.

    Maybe Camron should follow the Nigerian president's example and suspend England from international football and start a local system with goal kepers who run to the ref and say "excuse me sir, the ball was over the line, give them a goal", or strikers who tell he ref "I touched the ball instinctively, don't give us the goal", or even better "I stumbled and fell with no contact, I must have dived, book me", and in Suarez's case "I instinctively punched the ball, lets invent a new rule here and now, borrow one from rugby.."
    We are all getting pretty tired of cries of "cheat" from he English media after every game. "Roben's a cheat" blah blah. You know, chase and scrabble would be great to focus on. The probability of "cheating" would be minimal there. A perfect Englishman gentleman's sport. For the rest of us, we either do things instinctively, or to gain our team advantage throughout the 90 minutes of a football match. Simple as that.

  • Comment number 75.

    Suarez is just one of those players who must win by hook or by crook. He showed it during the entire match.

    As for exploitation, it's always going to be done. If he hadn't done it, he'd be exploiting the code of honor and have lost admirably though many wouldn't have recognised it. Rather he exploited the other code and won, he set his priorities.

    We played our best football(for me) of the tournament. The understanding between Kevin, Sulley, Inkoom, Gyan was impressive, returning us to the playground with delightful movement. I liked that.

    The pain is this was supposed to be Nkrumah's anniversary present but quarter of a loaf is better than none.

  • Comment number 76.

    As many have said, the free kick leading up to the thrilling finish was dubious. Suarez, in my mind, did the right thing- had he not done it, Uraguay would have been out, but by sacrificing his place in the semi, he gave the team a chance to go through.

    Had Ghana converted the penalty and won, nobody would be angry about Suaraz's handball at all. But the fact that Ghana could not score that goal, or that they couldn't beat Uraguay in a penalty shoot-out minus one of their best strikers is surely not Suarez's fault, so why villify him for it? Blame the Ghana team for not being able to accept a win that was effectively handed to them on a plate.

    Note my argument is NOT "everyone would do it, therefore it's ok." Such an argument is logically faulty and ethically indefensible. The reason why Ghana cannot complain about an injustice is that Suarez recieved the correct punishment for his offence- a straight red and a penalty to the other team. It is THEIR fault, and theirs alone, that they could not take advantage of said punishment.

    I am suspicious of any talk of awarding penalty goals for shots that would "definetely" have gone over the line, because until we have video technology (which is a long way off even if Blatter does change his mind), we have no way to determine such a concept and would invariably get such decisions wrong, which would lead to more pressure on referees and further villification of officials. No, thank you!

    If there is an outcry about last night's outcome, it only shows an African bias. It is not wrong for a player to commit a foul in and of itself, provided an adequete sanction is carried out. Had Suarez not been sent off, Ghana would have every reason to complain about a missed opportunity to kill the game. As things stand now, they have no reason at all.

  • Comment number 77.

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

  • Comment number 78.

    This was not 'cheating' surely, it was breaking the rules. There was nothing sly, or particularly dishonest about. When peanlized Suarez made no complaint and left the pitch, as he should.

    Remember also that the free kick that lead to the incident was won from a Ghanaian dive, and that was cheating.

    Compare this with Maicon desperately seeking out a leg to be in contact with then leaping a foot in the air with the arms up full dying swan. That was cheating and Brasialians did an awful lot of it. I am glad they are gone.

  • Comment number 79.

    CHEATING? Someone somewhere along the way seems to have confused the terminology. Cheating is when Suarez handles the ball but claims it hit him on the chest and gets away with it. Cheating is when the ball crosses the line, but is pulled back by the keeper who insists it never crossed the line(Lampard/Germany). Cheating is when a player falls over in the penalty area, without being touched, and gets a peanlty awarded to his team etc etc. Suarez did what is provided for in the laws of the game, that is handle the ball, although he was not the keeper, knowing that the laws state that (a) a penalty kick will be awarded and (b) he will be sent-off. He had to take the chance and was the loser on 2 counts because both (a) and (b) happened. However it was up to the Ghanian player to score the penalty and he unfortunately missed.
    It is totally wrong for people to say that he 'cheated'.
    He did not try to convince anyone that he did not handle the ball. That would have been cheating! He accepted he had committed an offence and he knew the consequences because the laws of the game are there to provide the adequate punishment. Unfortunately the laws of the game do not provide punishments for cheats. Suarez was punished so therefore he did not 'cheat'.
    Paul Fletcher poses the question - 'Hero or Villian?' He is neither.
    He instinctly reacted to a situation which was created by very poor goalkeeping. For Pantsil, who fouled throughout the game, to say he would have not done the same thing is ridiculous.
    I personally think that the award of a penalty and a yellow card in these circumstances is the correct punishment.
    I'm more concerned with 'thugs' who stamp on people and put players out of the game. This is far more worrying than a handball incident.

  • Comment number 80.

    Hero. Without doubt. He sacrificed himself in semifinal for team, for country. I think every professional player would do the same. Goalkeeper was beaten, one Urugay player tried to use hand to stop the ball, but also was beaten and Suarez did that he was supposed to do. Give everything that he can to achieve result. It's world cup, once in four year, some players will never play at world cup ar his country can miss next time. He broke the rules and was punished. It's a part of the game.

  • Comment number 81.

    I am pleased for Uruguay because, as no.13 observes, the pro-Ghana bias last night was unbelievable from the media. I think it also affected the officials, as Uruguay should have had at least one penalty, and the free kick awarded in the lead-up to the Suarez incident never was. That has been quietly forgotten in the inquisition that has followed Gyan's miss.

  • Comment number 82.

    I don't think Suarez should be vilified for his actions. Like some have said before me, he done no worse than all others who have intentionally handballed/dived in this tournament.

    Let me know what you think about this situation... Suppose the Ghanian player beats the offside trap, beautifully collects the balls breaking free from the Uruguay defence. He is running through on goal with the defenders chasing him. With a subtle dip of the shoulder he gluides past the goalkeeper, with an open goal staring him in the face. The moment he is away to side-foot the ball for a certain goal, the defender, knowing he can't win the ball, slides from behind the attacker and takes the strikers leg from beneath him... resulting in the ball squirming just wide of the ball. The referee gives the penalty and sends the player off... resulting in a miss for the attacking team. Would this be any different to what actually happened?????

    Obviously, a tackle as described above is not allowed...neither is a handball... the intent of the defender in of both scenarios (mine and the real one) are the same. Do you think he would be vilified the same in my scenario???

  • Comment number 83.

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

  • Comment number 84.

    The 'lets have a penalty try' style punishment for incidents like this is a ridiculous argument as we'd have to apply it to all situations where a goal scoring opportunity is unfairly denied. In football we have a clear and fair sanction for incidents like Suarez's handball - a penalty and a red card. The incident was spotted by the officials and Suarez was rightly punished - he also misses the next game. The unnecessary moralising on this thread is extremely tiresome

  • Comment number 85.

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

  • Comment number 86.

    I don't normally watch football and this kind of ridiculous incident confirms to me why it is completely out of control in terms of cheating, referee-baiting and general lack of discipline. In Rugby Union, this would have been a penalty try so why do they not have a penalty goal in football? How hard can that be to implement. Rugby Union also very successfully uses a fourth official who can look at replays. The discipline in Rugby is far greater than in football as a consequence. I could not understand why none of the commentators suggested these measures? There needs to be a detailed review of the rules of the game.

  • Comment number 87.

    fallenfaith wrote:
    Many (maybe all) would have done the same, and that's fine. But a penalty is a unique, confidence sapping event which gives the defending team another chance to save a goal.

    Fallenfaith- Penalties: 'confidence sapping event'????? You clearly don't get football and only emphasis the English mentality. Penalties are an OPPORTUNITY to score!!! Did it sap the Uruguay team last night? No. Matt Le Tissier scored 46 out of 47 in his career and he said he looked forward to them because he could score!!

    As for Suarez, he made a major sacrifice for the team and should be applauded for it!!

  • Comment number 88.

    Let's look at this situation, shall we?

    Dying minutes of injury time, and Ghana have a break on the halfway line. Uruguayan defenders tried offside trap, but now Gyan's one-on-one with the goalkeeper, with Scotti behind him. He knows that Gyan will probably score, so he tugs his shirt amd pulls him down. Scotti gets a red card. Ghana now has a free-kick, but it's wildly over.

    Would there be such a witch-hunt now??? Instead of using the dreaded hands (FOOTBALL IS FOR FEET, NOT HANDS LOL) he sacrificed the safety of the other player, but I highly doubt there would be such 'controversy', would there?

    Lets try a different situation:

    Same original handball happened, but it happens in the middle of the first half. I can guarantee you, that NOBODY would even give a damn. In fact, the witch-hunt would be on Gyan not converting to take a lead against 10-man Uruguay.

    It's all pathetic guys. You guys have your knickers in a twist because your suddenly-beloved Ghana lost. You've gotten bored of defiling the England team, now it's some other poor team's turn.

  • Comment number 89.

    "Oh dear, the Englishmen start to come up again pointing to cheating, diving blablabla. It's pathetic to hear the same old rubbish from people who claim to have invented the game. Next we will be hearing is that England don't win anything because they are being cheated out from every competition they participate in."

    No they dont win anything because they arent good enough, and yes any English player in the same position would probably have done the same thing as Suarez, and this would not alter my opinion that its a reprehensible thing to do. So please refrain in future from simply assuming we are all hypocritical whingers. Note the irony in you calling others whinging when you are doing the exact same thing.

  • Comment number 90.

    I'm not saying cheat, how about disgrace to football ? Firstly, given the timing and situation of the whole thing I think it's disgusting what he did. Personally I have a little more self respect than to do it, so no, I wouldn't do that. He should be banned from the rest of the tournament. It's not the rule, it's the timing of it that is so disgraceful, being damn near the end of added-on time. The penalty goal rule would stop that, maybe if only applied to extra time to keep the purists slightly happier ?

    As for those comments about Henry, don't be stupid. Henry wasn't on the goal line saving a definite goal, he was nearer the by-line, so comparisons are useless and completely pointless. Ok so a goal was scored afterwards but IT MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN. There was 0 doubt about the Suarez incident.

    The only good Suarez might bring about is a look to changing that rule.

    To 46. It's called playing to the whistle which is what footballers should do more often...

  • Comment number 91.

    Whilst Suarez was wrong to handle the ball and should apologise for it, the real villains are the officials who had an appalling game culminating in the final minute of extra time where they gave a free kick when it wasn't a foul and missed an offside when the free kick went in.

    They also missed a blatent penalty for uruguay earlier in extra time.

    Did Uruguay want to go through this way?

    The answer is no.

    Did they deserve to go through over the 120 minutes?

    The answer is yes.

  • Comment number 92.

    I don't know why some people would complain about Suarez's handball because Ghana had a chance to save the game. In fact, if anything, he could have hindered Uruguay seriously if it wasn't for Gyan making a total pig's ear of the following penalty.
    Anyway, well done Uruguay! Great penalty from Sebastian Abreu anyway- one of the best and ice-cold finishes I have seen this tournament :)

  • Comment number 93.

    @21 Suarez did what ANYONE would have done. Anyone who says otherwise is either a liar or a fool.

    Don't go painting the rest of us with your own personal low standards. Just because YOU would do that, don't think EVERYONE would. There is only one FOOL here, go look in a mirror.

  • Comment number 94.

    I agree that a blatant, intentional goal-line handball should be awarded a "Penalty Goal" in addition to a red card. Deliberate hand ball is as much cheating as diving, feigning injury, 'hand of god' goals etc. For anyone to suggest otherwise sounds pathetic, and must wonder why Suarez was sent off and a penalty awarded.
    The action threw his team a slim lifeline, which astonishingly paid off by the subsequent PK - but nevertheless, it is still cheating and should not be something Suarez be hailed heroic for doing so.
    He is a talented striker and sure, I understand his delight at seeing his team advance under the circumstances, but for him to react the way he did to the initial penalty miss and post-match celebration being carried atop his team mates shoulders as a hero was disrespectfull to the game and downright offensive to the Ghanian team. I'm personally disgusted that a professional player of the game I so dearly love could behave in such a way.
    It compares with Ronaldo's wink to the Portugal bench after encouraging Rooney's dismissal against them in the last world cup.
    Anyone else notice how the other goal line defender made an attempt to deliberately swat the ball away too? - a split second before Suarez's more sucessfull save if you see it from the right camera angle. Allowing this type behaviour to continue is condoning 'cheating' as a tactic. Very disappointing, but the ref followed the rulebook, and Uruguay deservedly won a tense, exciting shoot-out. Shame on you Suarez.

  • Comment number 95.

    I love how people are saying this shows a flaw in the rules, then calls Suarez a dirty little cheater because of it.

  • Comment number 96.

    Can't blame Suarez - every player would have done the same.
    But the law is clearly an ass. The law encouraged Suarez to cheat and he succeeded.
    There should be a new rule for such obvious cases - give the goal. The red card was meaningless - it was the very end of the game.
    Maybe Uruguay should now have to play the semi with only ten men in punishment?! It's no more ridiculous than what was allowed to happen.

  • Comment number 97.


  • Comment number 98.

    There is a clear difference between denying a goal scoring opportunity and denying a clear goal. Should be a goal given AND the player red-carded and banned from further action in the competition (whatever the competition)

    I wager that the Uraguayan Referee that missed the Lampard goal with take no further part in the WC, yet Suarez would be able to play in the final, should they reach it. Disgrace!

  • Comment number 99.

    Actually , is a cheat. such behavior should be awarded by GOAL .. no RED card no yellow card .. just GOAL .. the Redcard/Penalty is not fair because ANY player will ignore the rules in cases that his team will go out. Who cares about RED card if the whole team will get RED cards and go out and go home ?

    So for people who say Luis Suarez is a hero and sacrificed him self .. this is laughable ... he was going OUT with his team ANYWAYS he had NOTHING TO LOOSE it is NOT Sacrifice it is cheating. Sacrifice is when you LOOSE something .. and he had nothing to loose..

  • Comment number 100.

    The 'penalty goal' idea would never work, because every single striker in the game already cheats in order to win a penalty - they'd do it even more if they knew they were going to get a guaranteed goal out of it.

    What Suarez did was within the rules, and entirely acceptable behaviour. It's stupid to say there's anything exceptionally wrong with what he did; it's been done many times before, after all.


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