24 Jun 2014

Suarez: new biting claims, this time at World Cup

Luis Suarez is at the centre of more biting allegations following Uruguay’s win against Italy at the World Cup. Meanwhile England drew with Costa Rica in their final match in Brazil.

The Liverpool striker was accused of biting defender Giorgio Chiellini at the end of the match which saw his team Uruguay knock out Italy with a 1-0 win. Close-up images of the Italian’s shoulder appear to show teeth marks.

Suarez served a 10-match ban in England in 2013 for doing the same to Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and a seven-match ban in 2010 during his time at Dutch club Ajax, when he bit PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal.

Television replays showed Suarez moving his head towards Chiellini, who responded by swinging an arm, before chasing the referee to apparently insist he had been bitten on his shoulder.

Suarez could face suspension if Fifa disciplinary officials uphold Chiellini’s protests, and the incident cast a shadow over a hard-fought win for the South Americans.

England play for pride

With nothing left to play for except pride, following England’s ejection from the World Cup after defeats against Italy and Uruguay in Brazil, manager Roy Hodgson decided to go with youth rather than experience in the final match in group D.

England enjoyed a positive first half, with a lively performance from centre forward Daniel Sturridge, who almost found the net in the 11th minute with a 20-yard strike and was unfortunate not to win a penalty after being barged over in front of goal in the 28th minute. A header over the bar in the 35th minute completed a showing that was full of attacking intent, if unproductive for his team.

Costa Rica also had their chances, with Joel Campbell almost hitting the target in the opening seconds of the game and Celso Borges denied from a free kick thanks to Ben Foster’s speedy reactions.

Sturridge nearly found the net at the start of the second half, just inches away from toeing the ball into the Costa Rica goal, but meeting his match in keeper Keylor Navas.

Christian Bolanos came close for Costa Rica, but his strike was well saved by Foster. Sturridge then missed a chance to make it 1-0 for England, his shot just wide of the post.

England battled away for the rest of the match, but failed to score, with a Wayne Rooney chip in the 80th minute pushed over the bar and a Steven Gerrard free kick just failing to find the Manchester Utd striker’s head at the end of the game.

Young team

Captain Steven Gerrard was replaced by Frank Lampard and Hodgson picked several youngsters who had not played much of a part in the competition’s two opening games, with nine alterations from the team that began the two previous matches in Manaus and Sao Paulo.

Italy, having beaten England 2-1 and been defeated 1-0 by Costa Rica, needed a draw to progress to the last 16. Costa Rica’s passage to the next round was guaranteed after two wins, and they finished top of group D after tjhe game with England.

Roy Hodgson took the unusual step of naming his starting XI on the eve of the match in Belo Horizonte. The most significant changes were in midfield, where Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere started their first World Cup games.

Luke Shaw became the youngest player to start at this World Cup, with Ben Foster, James Milner, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Adam Lallana also in the XI.

Before the game, Hodgson denied that making so many changes suggested he was not taking the match seriously.

“It’s a top-ranked international on the biggest stage, so anything else than taking the game very seriously and trying to win the game in its own right would be out of the question.”

Hodgson said he was aware “our fans are as disappointed and devastated as we are”, adding: “We had sympathy and kind words from the fans who saw us at the hotel, and we want to make certain they see something against Costa Rica that they can take some encouragement from.”