Typically, in the final day of competition in the group stages for multiple groups at the World Cup, the headlines would be about which teams advanced and which teams disappointed their fans and were left on the outside looking in.
Uruguay star Luis Suarez made sure that wasn’t the case Tuesday.
Suarez appeared to bite Giorgio Chiellini right before Uruguay scored the decisive goal and was not punished for his actions by the referee. Of course, this isn’t exactly the first time Mr. Suarez has used his teeth on the pitch.
As if that weren’t enough, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli resigned after the loss, per FIFA World Cup on Twitter.
Oh yea, there were also four critical games Tuesday. Costa Rica and England played to a scoreless tie, Uruguay controversially beat Italy 1-0, Colombia steamrolled Japan 4-1, and Greece escaped Ivory Coast 2-1.
Here is a look at how those results impacted the entire World Cup group table:
Costa Rica 0, England 0
It was only fitting that England’s 2014 World Cup ended in an unceremonious 0-0 tie. On the other side, Costa Rica clinched a Group D title with the draw.
Both teams had a handful of chances, and Daniel Sturridge certainly had a case for a penalty when he was taken down by Oscar Duerte in the first half, but it was a match lacking in energy and urgency.
Costa Rica had goal differential on their side heading into the contest and could have won the group even with a defeat, so there wasn’t a real need to push the pace from their perspective. The Ticos did see a Celso Borges free kick almost dip in, but England’s goalkeeper Ben Foster tipped it away.
Wayne Rooney didn’t even enter the game until there were 15 minutes remaining.
Uruguay 1, Italy 0
The brief synopsis of this game would point to Diego Godin’s goal for Uruguay down the stretch as the difference-maker. However, that doesn’t begin to scratch the surface.
First of all, Italy only had 10 players on the field when Godin scored because Claudio Marchisio was sent off with a red card because of a foul on Egidio Rios. Whether that deserved an elimination or not probably depends on which side you rooted for, but it wasn’t the only controversy of the match.
As mentioned, Suarez, who was suspended for biting opponents as a member of Ajax and Liverpool in the past, appeared to bite Chiellini in the 79th minute. Chiellini chased down the referee in an effort to reveal a bite mark, but it was to no avail.
Bleacher Report captured the highlight:
Suarez could very well face a suspension from FIFA, which would certainly be crippling to Uruguay’s World Cup chances.
Will Suarez play another minute of the 2014 World Cup?
Uruguay’s only loss in the group stage came when Suarez missed the game against Costa Rica, and the attack has simply looked stronger with him on the field. Even if Suarez doesn’t score, opposing defenders have to pay attention to him at all times, which opens up the field for his teammates to exploit the open space.
Chiellini certainly won’t be disappointed if Suarez is suspended if his post-match quotes are any indication, via Bill Hofheimer of ESPN:
The bite made waves outside of the soccer world, as a number of restaurant and food brands weighed in, as well as boxer Evander Holyfield, who was famously bitten by Mike Tyson, and Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux of the U.S. women's national team:
I think it’s safe to say Uruguay was hungry for the win.— TGI Fridays (@TGIFridays) June 24, 2014
Chew Trident. Not soccer players. #ITAvsURU— Trident Gum (@tridentgum) June 24, 2014
I guess any part of the body is up for eating.— Evander Holyfield (@holyfield) June 24, 2014
Suarez next match: pic.twitter.com/HolsshOT6x— Sydney Leroux (@sydneyleroux) June 24, 2014
So glad we don't have a biter in the women's game. #ouch— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) June 24, 2014
Suarez wasn’t the only one making news, as Prandelli resigned after the loss. Italian federation president Giancarlo Abete respectively disagreed with the decision, via ESPNFC:
Mr. Prandelli presented his resignation. I'm going to convene a federal court meeting between Friday and Monday as soon as I go back to Italy.
I said to Mr. Prandelli that I hope he will withdraw his resignation because I believe above and beyond the result, which has left bitter taste in our mouths, he did his best given the levels of competitiveness that characterized our football today.
Greece 2, Ivory Coast 1
Words cannot explain how difficult of a loss that was for Ivory Coast to swallow.
Was the penalty the right call?
A draw would have sent the Elephants through, and it appeared to be in the cards as the match entered stoppage time tied at one. Then the referee blew the whistle when Georgios Samaras tripped in the box, and Greece was awarded a penalty kick to advance to the knockout stages.
Samaras buried the penalty, and that was all she wrote.
Michael DeCourcy of Sporting News certainly didn’t agree with the call:
This may be the single worst call in recorded sports history.— Michael DeCourcy (@tsnmike) June 24, 2014
Before the decisive moment, Ivory Coast looked golden with a late goal at the 74th minute to tie it up. Bleacher Report UK and ESPN had the highlight and the reaction:
Alas, Greece won the game and will head to their first knockout stage in their history.
Colombia 4, Japan 1
Colombia had already clinched a spot in the knockout stage heading into Tuesday’s contest with Japan, and it would have taken an absolute disaster in the goal-differential department for them to not win Group C.
That lack of back-against-the-wall motivation didn’t stop Colombia from ending Japan’s World Cup with an impressive 4-1 victory, though.
Japan needed a victory and some help to advance heading into this contest, so they opened up the attack in a desperate effort to rack up goals. Instead, it left them vulnerable to the counter attack, and the strong Colombia side took advantage.
Juan Cuadrado got the scoring started with a penalty goal at the 17th minute. Japan bounced back nicely when Shinji Okazaki drilled home a header right before halftime, but Colombia were simply too much to handle in the second half. Jackson Martinez knocked in two second-half goals to provide the difference, and James Rodriguez added the cherry on top.
With Day 13 in the books, here is a look at the remaining fixtures in the group stage:
|Wednesday, June 25||4 p.m.||France vs. Ecuador||ESPN|
|Wednesday, June 25||4 p.m.||Honduras vs. Switzerland||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, June 25||12 p.m.||Iran vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina||ESPN2|
|Wednesday, June 25||12 p.m.||Nigeria vs. Argentina||ESPN|
|Thursday, June 26||12 p.m.||United States vs. Germany||ESPN|
|Thursday, June 26||12 p.m.||Portugal vs. Ghana||ESPN2|
|Thursday, June 26||4 p.m.||Algeria vs. Russia||ESPN2|
|Thursday, June 26||4 p.m.||South Korea vs. Belgium||ESPN|
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