Friday, July 2, 2010

Meet Luis Suarez, the Tonya Harding of Soccer

Posted By on Fri, Jul 2, 2010 at 7:56 PM

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Nothing against Uruguay as a country — I'm sure it has some use-value that no one is aware of — but its performance in today's World Cup match against Ghana was pretty obscene.

For those who missed it, Ghana was denied a certain goal in the final minutes of overtime by Uruguay's Luis Suarez, who deliberately blocked the ball with his hands. The move was, of course, illegal since Suarez is not a goalie. But it was sufficient to cheat Ghana out of the winning goal.

The game then went into penalty kicks, enabling Uruguay to claim what could be the most pathetic victory in World Cup history.

Ghana was the only African team to survive this far into the competition. Had they gone all the way, it would have been a historic event to see an African team win a World Cup held on African soil. It also would have meant that our own U.S. team's loss to Ghana would not have been in vain. In a way, it would have been like we had the assist.

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Instead, Suarez is now Uruguay's national hero, and viewers around the world were reminded that folks who completely defy the rules can often prosper as a result. Afterward, Suarez laughingly boasted about his infraction being a "hand of God" save.

Coincidentally enough, it was a Uruguayan referee, Jorge Larrionda, who screwed England out of the World Cup last Sunday after he disallowed a goal that unquestionably was one. But in Larrionda's case, it appears to have been the result of incompetence rather than malice.

Yes, Luis Suarez is now The Tonya Harding of Soccer. And for many, whoever ultimately wins this World Cup no longer matters, just so long as it's not Uruguay.

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