World Cup: Uruguay's Luis Suarez brushes aside biting incident: "These are things that happen"
The evidence is pretty incriminating. But Uruguayan star Luis Suarez is having none of it.
Although the game footage seems to show Suarez sending his mouth into the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini and there are subsequent photos of what looks to be a bite mark, the Liverpool star says it's all part of the game.
"These are things that happen on the field," he reportedly told Uruguay's Channel 10 after the match. "We were both inside the area and he bumped into me with his shoulder, and that's how my eye got like this" in reference to a bruise near his eye.
"There are things that happen on the field and you shouldn't give them so much importance."
Just a few hours after the match, FIFA announced it has opened an investigation. But Chiellini is not counting on disciplinary action from the world governing body.
"Suarez is a slimeball who'll get off without any problems because FIFA wants its stars on the field in this World Cup," the defender told Italy's Sky Sport. "We'll see if they'll have the courage to use video evidence against him. The referee saw the bite mark, but didn’t take any action."
Suarez's coach, Oscar Washington Tabarez, repeated on three different occasions during his postgame press conference that he had not seen the incident, but he predictably came to the defense of his top player against what he believes to be a witch hunt by English media.
"He's the preferred target of certain media, certain press that give him much more coverage to an alleged error he might have made and not to the things he really is in soccer," Tabarez said through a translator. "It seems to me that there's clear animosity against this soccer player.
"… As we say in Uruguay, 'There are people hidden behind the tree' to see if something happens."
Yet as the press conference wore on and the questions kept coming, Tabarez seemed to be already coming to grips with the fact that he'd likely be losing Suarez.
"Luckily we have played many matches without Suarez during qualifiers, some we won and others we lost," he said. "For us he's a very important player, he's an important person within the group and I can already say that if we see he's being attacked as you've already started to do during this press conference, we will see how to defend him because this is a soccer World Cup, not about morality. Cheap morality."
Uruguay captain Diego Lugano, who missed the match because of injury, went as far as accusing Chiellini of showing old scars.
"The images show nothing," Lugano told Diario Ole. "We saw the Chiellini photo. They are old scars. Any idiot would realize it. You have to be really stupid not to notice that the scars are old.
"If Chiellini said this after the match, he broke every locker room code in soccer," Lugano continued. "I would never have imagined it from an Italian. It would be more manly to take the loss and accept your own errors. There's no bite. There's no scar. It was a collision during play."