Updates from Thursday, June 19
According to the BBC, Pepe's suspension has been confirmed, and has had a fine tacked on:
Portugal defender Pepe has been handed a one-match suspension following his red card in the 4-0 loss to Germany.
Pepe has been fined £9,860 by Fifa, who has also handed Maxi Pereira of Uruguay a one-match ban.
A textbook moment of madness from Portugal defender Pepe saw Paulo Bento’s side reduced to 10 men during their Group G opener in Salvador against Germany.
With the Germans up 2-0 after goals from Thomas Mueller and Mats Hummels, Pepe got involved in a tussle with Mueller and clearly let his frustration get the better of him by thrusting his head into the German’s head.
Naturally, Twitter wasn’t exactly Pepe’s best friend after this incident, and Piers Morgan summed up the Real Madrid star’s actions with his short and not-so-sweet post:
It was hardly surprising, though; if there was ever a man that was capable of losing it on the biggest stage of them all and putting his nation in jeopardy, then many would argue it’s Pepe—a sentiment that Philip Neville clearly agrees with:
What is surprising, though, is that the subsequent red card for the 31-year-old following his headbutt is the first he’s ever received for his national team—per ESPN’s Paul Carr:
In such a crucial World Cup match, to commit such a ludicrous act is nothing short of head-scratching, but it’s just Pepe being Pepe in reality:
With the Germans looking like easing to a comfortable victory, having Pepe on the field would surely have kept Portugal in contention for the match, and English cricketer Kevin Pietersen’s hashtag was perfect for the occasion:
However, not everyone was jumping on Pepe’s back. Joey Barton, who has chalked up a few red cards in his time, deemed his actions “world class.” Well, sort of:
The Portuguese defender will now miss the clash with USA on June 22 in Manaus, putting Portugal’s entire knockout-stage qualification quest at risk of deflating.
Portugal now need to dig deep if they’re to recover from what’s set to be a thrashing, but doing so without Pepe may actually aid their cause.
Having such a wild player on the pitch, as good a footballer as he is means that Portugal are always at risk of being a man lighter. Fans will be happy that it has happened now, though, rather than a crunch clash in the winter of the tournament.