“On the 13th day of the FIFA World Cup 2014, the Cannibal resurrected to taste some lasagne.” This surely isn’t some verse out of a football gospel but constitution of the fact that sometimes all that happens on a football pitch doesn’t just stay there. Surely after this clause in football history,we can never talk about FIFA or for that the all-time most questionable football squabbles, without naming the Uruguayan Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez, who had millions of eyes set on him especially after he almost single handily knocked England out of this world cup. This took him toheights that his international career had never seen before. So the expectations from the player were pretty heavy regarding his performance in the next match of Uruguay against Italy. It won’t be wrong to say that the striker became the only hope for Uruguay to survive this fierce competition and advance further which they did in a pretty decent fashion. Uruguay beat Italy 1-0. After the game the complete attention of the world media converged on Suarez instead of the winning team. As just before Diego Godin scoring the winning goal, Suarez bit Italy’s GiogioChiellini on the shoulder. This was followed by a Twitter storm of Suarez jokes and internet memes. For the third time Suarez had bitten a player from the opposite team.FIFA Disciplinary committee convicted him of the charges to then later suspend him for nine matches and also banning him for four months from taking part in any football-related activity.
Undoubtedly this has sent the right message across the world of football that no matter how great of a player you are you can’t give away the responsibility of your own actions on the pitch. But it also raised many questions about the fact that what is it that makes some great players to go maniacal, so much so that they are unable to check their aggression. Some experts believe that it is the immense pressure of playing for their country on the biggest stage that makes players go complete berserk and sometimes it is attributed to their beingvictims of either racism or personal attacks from the other players. Likewise it is fairly evident that no matter how much we have evolved mentally, still when the pressure reaches a saturation point of our physical ability then animal instincts take over our behaviour leading to actions like… BITING…eh?
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest FIFA controversies generated in the history of football.
You can’t be a great football fan if you haven’t heard of the French great Zinedine Zidane, who was declared the best European footballer of the past 50 years by UEFA. Zidane got a lot of ill repute too for his infamous head-butting of the Italian defender Marco Materazzi after a verbal spat during the FIFA world cup 2006 final. Later Materazzi was held responsible of instigating Zidane by making a personal attack on him about his sister. Many fans still believe that this incident tarnished the legacy of Zidane’s magical 18-year career, as he went on to retire from all forms of football after this game.
The Hand of God
Argentinean great Diego Maradona played a key role in knocking England out of the 1986 FIFA world cup in its quarter-finals. This match saw Maradona scoring two goals. One was what has been unanimously termed as the ‘Goal of the Century’, which he brilliantly scored by dodging five English defenders as well as the goalkeeper. And the other was the ‘Hand of God’ goal which Maradona scored by punching the ball with his left fist into the net and later justifying it by calling it as the ‘divine intervention’. The referee cleared the goal to be legit and hence it went on to become the most controversial goal in football history. But it turned out to be fruitful as Argentina went on to win that world cup.
The Battle of Nuremberg
Here I am not talking about a battle fought with bullets and bombs. This is the popular name given to the football match played between Portugal and the Netherlands in Nuremberg during the round stage of FIFA 2006. This match saw the biggest number of penalty cards given in a single match ever in football history till date- 4 red cards and 16 yellow cards. This match saw Christiano Ronaldo getting injured from a really bad tackle leading to many more subsequent clashes between the players. This match also saw a head-butt for which Luis Figo got a red card. And some more heated words were exchanged and this game indeed brought enough shame to the sport.
Faking injuries, though is a rare yet notunseen foul practice in the sport. Fifa 2002 saw Rivaldo fake an injury just at the touchline in the game of Brazil against Turkey leading to the sent-off of the Turkish defender Unsal. Later the camera footage convicted Rivaldo of being guilty and he was fined £1000.
In Fifa 1990, another vile act took the football world by storm. In a match of Netherlands against West Germany, Frank Rijkaard of Holland sent a well decisive projectile of his saliva to the head of poor Rudi Voller. But once wasn’t enough for the “Llama”, as he achieved the same feat twice before forcing the referee to show him a red card.
Hand of God II
Keeping our faith in the circle of life let’s get back to Suarez. Before proving his metal as the “Cannibal”, Suarez pulled another trick out of his shorts against Ghana during the 2010 world cup. He stopped Ghana from scoring the lead by stopping a header with his hand. Uruguay claimed victory after a shootout even though Suarez was sent off. He justified this action of his by saying that it was just for the team and now the real hand of god belongs to him. Though seeing him using this hand again is going to take him a lot of time now.
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