Villaflor: Suarez and his crazy teeth

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Thursday, June 26, 2014


BY NOW, the last three teams that have advanced to the knockout stages of the 2014 World Cup would be known.

Six match ups have been slated in the Round of 16 as of this writing: Brazil vs. Chile and Colombia vs. Uruguay on June 29, Netherlands vs. Mexico and Costa Rica vs. Greece on June 30, France vs. Nigeria on July 1, and Argentina vs. Switzerland on July 2. Belgium will be paired against a team from Group G.

But what people really want to know on the eve of the Colombia vs. Uruguay match on Sunday is whether Fifa would ban the Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez for sinking his teeth into the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini last Tuesday. It’s becoming a bad habit for Suarez who was banned twice for biting during league matches – last year in the English Premier League and in 2010 in the Dutch Eridivisie.

The Uruguay camp has accused the English and Italian sides of plotting Suarez’s ban as the striker was instrumental in ousting the two European football giants out of the World Cup.

And the pictures of Chiellini with bite marks? They were altered, Suarez supporters insist.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has dismissed the accusation and was quoted as telling a BBC reporter: “This is a football World Cup, not about cheap morality.”

I really don’t know what to make of this biting incident that not surprisingly has caused an online frenzy. Instead of an Uruguayan celebration, the social media networks went crazy with Suarez memes – one showed the striker wearing a dog cone collar, while another, wearing a Hannibal Lecter mask, and yet another, as a bloody vampire.

Would this latest scandal dent the image of the World Cup? Hardly, considering the tournament has had a long history of controversial, if not bizarre, incidents, from Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” to Zinedine Zidane’s head-butting incident, and it’s proven impregnable.

The mounting pressure, though, will prompt Fifa to act on this “Bitegate” scandal quickly. Reports say Suarez’s ban is almost certain.

If that happens, Uruguay’s Round of 16 opponents Colombia will stand to benefit the most. With the dangerous striker out of the way, not only will there be less biting on the field, the Group C winners know their chance of advancing to the Quarterfinals has just skyrocketed.

As for Suarez, he’ll get precious time off to reflect about his behavior, career and life, and a chance to have his teeth and head checked.

(nsvillaflor@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 27, 2014.

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