In one of the more shocking moments of the 2014 World Cup thus far, Italy's Claudio Marchisio was sent off on a straight red card after stomping the leg of Uruguay's Egidio Arevalo Rios in the 59th minute.
It would prove to be a crucial moment, as down a man Italy couldn't maintain the scoreless draw, losing 1-0 to Uruguay and finding themselves eliminated from this year's World Cup.
As you might imagine, Twitter exploded after the incident.
Here's the moment of truth, via ESPN FC on Twitter:
If you have any doubt about the validity of the straight red, check out this image passed along by Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly Sport:
You just can't stomp on a player, cleats up, going into a challenge. Intentional or not, it will be called a red every time, and deservedly so.
In the end, it was as big a moment—and as big a mistake—as we've seen in this World Cup. Not long later, Diego Godin would score for Uruguay—albeit after Luis Suarez perhaps should have been sent off for apparently biting Giorgio Chiellini—and Uruguay won, 1-0.
Chiellini voiced his disdain for the situation, especially in the light of the controversy around Suarez (via Football Italia):
“It was absolutely shameful. The game was decided by the referee and if one team should’ve gone through it was us,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“Sending Marchisio off and not carding Suarez was decisive. There were other incidents and a different treatment in the first half too.
“As long as we had 11 men, we were in control and Uruguay were never dangerous. Obviously with 10 men in the last half-hour it was tough and we suffered, then were punished by a set play.
“Suarez is a sneak and he gets away with it because FIFA want their stars to play in the World Cup. I’d love to see if they have the courage to use video evidence against him.
“The referee saw the bite mark too, but he did nothing about it.”
OptaJean put the moment in historical context for Italy:
As many would expect, Twitter wasn't very forgiving of the challenge. Tancredi Palmeri of beIN Sport was harsh:
So too was Kyle McCarthy of Fox Soccer:
Jimmy Conrad of KICK TV analyzed it closely and came down in agreement with the referee:
Dermot Corrigan of ESPN also defended the call:
Those were the serious responses. Ultimately, there weren't many folks coming to Marchisio's defense.
For the next four years now, the Italians will lament the red card that was and the red card that was not. They'll lament Italy winning their first game and losing their next two. They'll lament elimination in the group stage, a shocking development.
And in the process, Marchisio may live on forever in Italian infamy. A shocking moment. A shocking loss. The 2014 World Cup offers drama once again.
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