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Luis Suarez bite and ban steals first round spotlight in FIFA World Cup

Jun 28 2014, 08:46 IST
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Luis Suarez has been banned from all football activities for four months. (Reuters) Luis Suarez has been banned from all football activities for four months. (Reuters)
SummaryFrom the moment Luis Suarez sunk his teeth into Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder all the great goals and colorful celebrations of the group stage became a sideshow.

For 13 glorious days in Brazil the feel-good factor flourished at the World Cup as the football flowed, the goals gushed and fans reveled in the tournament's return to its spiritual home.

Then along came Luis Suarez.

From the moment the troubled Uruguay striker sunk his teeth into Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini's shoulder all the great goals and colorful celebrations of the group stage became a sideshow to the bite and subsequent nine-match ban.

Suarez was also hit with a four-month suspension from all football activities and fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($112,000) as FIFA came down hard on a player who has served two lengthy bans for previous biting incidents.

"Such behavior cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field," world soccer's governing body said.

The suspension, a record handed out at a World Cup, has robbed the tournament of one of its brightest stars and left Uruguay without their lethal weapon ahead of a second-round encounter with high-flying Colombia.

And how they will miss him.

Suarez sat out Uruguay's opening defeat by Costa Rica but returned to score twice and effectively knock England out of the tournament before playing his part in a win over Italy that eliminated the Azzurri and sealed a spot in the last 16.

The World Cup is undoubtedly a duller place without him but there is no shortage of illustrious names vying to grab the Uruguayan's share of the spotlight.

Neymar was the word on every Brazilian's lips ahead of the World Cup and he has lived up to the hype, finishing the first round as joint leading scorer and spearheading the hosts' charge into the second round.

The 22-year-old brought the Corinthians arena to life in the World Cup opener, calming the frayed nerves of home fans by scoring twice in a 3-1 come-from-behind win over Croatia.

MESSI MAGIC

Joining Neymar at the top of the scoring charts on four goals is Lionel Messi, who scored in all of Argentina's group games, while Thomas Mueller also netted four as Germany won their group comfortably.

For some, Messi can only earn his place among the all-time greats of football by shining at the World Cup and his dazzling performances in Brazil suggest he is on the right track.

The livewire forward danced through the Bosnia defense to score the winner in their opener, curled home

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