25 June 2014

World Cup Links: He Bites, He Dives ... Well, You Know The Rest

Cannibal Suarez. To be fair, Chiellini
does sound like a tasty pasta dish
I’ve been meaning to write about the World Cup ever since it started, but just couldn’t really find anything of interest to say; we’re all aware of how good this iteration of the tournament has been, with more goals per game than any World Cup in a long time, the reigning champions being eliminated after just two games, and late equalizers and winners. I didn’t feel like I could add anything to what we’d all witnessed. Until yesterday, that is.

As I’m sure you’re all aware, Luis Suarez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder, with the score tied at 0-0 in a game that would go on to decide who qualified from Group D behind Costa Rica. It should be noted that replays from multiple angles haven’t proved overwhelmingly conclusive, but it certainly looked like the Racist Cannibal had a good munch on some prime Italian shoulder meat. FIFA have opened an investigation into the incident, with Suarez claiming that Chiellini “bumped” into him. Compounding the matter is the fact that Suarez threw himself to the ground as if he’d been shot (as is his wont) in a clear attempt to either confuse the referee or earn his side an important penalty; he might have been hoping the Italian defender would react and shove him, so by going down quickly was preparing for contact.

I am relatively confident that FIFA will do the right thing (yes, you read that correctly) and ban that hater of the Jackson 5, but what is a fair ban here? I am on the side of those who say he should get the maximum FIFA’s rules allow for, which is 24 international matches or 2 years. This may seem like a hot sports take, and maybe I’m writing in the heat of the moment, but this is the third time we’ve seen a frustrated Suarez bite an opponent. What’s really riled me up is that this has been a great tournament, and Suarez has now distracted fans, media and players alike from the excellence of the preceding matches. It would be unprecedented for FIFA to also apply a club ban to the Uruguayan, but if the rules allow it, I would argue that they should go that way as well (though that could be my biased Arsenal side talking). Either way, his World Cup is almost definitely over. It will be interesting to see where Liverpool go from here too. This type of incident will probably leave only one destination - Real Madrid - for the striker should they choose to sell him (Barcelona’s self-promoted purity of Mes que un club will probably take them out of the running), and will likely drive the price down as Liverpool could be desperate to wash their hands of the whole mess. Whatever happens, Luis Suarez will, for the second consecutive World Cup, be one of the main talking points. Hopefully, the games continue to be just as good, and we can consign this incident to a footnote in history.

On to the links, and the one winner from this situation is a Swedish substitute teacher who bet 80 krona (around $12) at 175-1 odds that Suarez would bite an opponent at some point during the tournament. He stands to receive a payout of 14,000 krona, or $2,080. (The Guardian)

Arsenal could make a shock move for Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, whose contract talks with the Blues have stalled. The Serbian would be a great fit in the Gunner’s back line, able to play at both center- and right-back, and would come to the club having huge levels of experience. (Daily Mail)

Arsène Wenger has reportedly held secret talks with Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean has shone as his nation have impressed at the World Cup, and Wenger is in Brazil performing media duties for French television. (Express)

Rumored long-time Arsenal target Sven Bender has said he would be interested in a move to England in the future. The German midfielder is currently injured. (Express)

The Gunners could sign a little-known Norwegian goalkeeper as back-up to Wojciech Szczesny for next season. Orjan Nyland was named ‘keeper of the tournament at the European U-21 Championships last year. (Metro)

Arsenal could replace one French right-back with another, as Mathieu Debuchy has stated his intent to play for a Champions League club. The Newcastle defender has been starting for France at the World Cup. (Express)

Atletico Madrid have joined the chase for unattached Mexico ‘keeper Guillermo Ochoa. The 28-year old impressed many with his performance against Brazil, earning El Tri a 0-0 draw with a series of fine saves. (Daily Star)

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