Friday, July 2, 2010

World Cup 2010: The Hand of Suarez

Depending on your point of view, Uruguay's Luis Suarez made the headiest play in World Cup history or is one of the game's all-time cheats. In the final seconds of extra time, Suarez's blatant hand ball prevented what would have been the game winner for Ghana. Suarez was immediately shown the red card and Asamoah Gyan missed the ensuing penalty kick. From there, Uruguay's shootout win was fait accompli.

I fall in the camp of people who commend Suarez for his heady play. Many think he's a cheater which distorts the definition of cheating. A cheater makes an effort to deceive the official; he tries to get away with something. There was no element of deception to Suarez's move; just pure desperation. Was it a penalty? Absolutely. And the obvious foul was correctly called. Not every penalty is necessarily cheating.

Suarez paid an immediate price with a red card ejection. Ghana were rewarded with a penalty shot. The fact that the PK was missed is irrelevant to the punishment given to Suarez, although certainly not irrelevant to the result of the game. Furthermore, he'll miss Uruguay's semifinal match against Holland. I would advocate changing the rule to immediately award a goal on a hand ball as obvious as that one, but that's a different discussion.

Others say that Suarez's play was the ultimate in unsportsmanlike behavior. A fair point, but if you want to see sportsmen, you better switch over to golf. From diving to milking injuries, the World Cup is hardly a showcase for great sportsmanship. I thought Samuel Inkoom flopping on the ground in mock agony towards the end of the US-Ghana match to kill time was a far more glaring example of unsportsmanlike behavior. If you want to say an unsportsmanlike act knocked Ghana out, then I'd counter that a bit of karma is involved. Either way, if Luis Suarez was my teammate, I'd be the first to give him a pat on the back.


Anonymous said...

so he got caught doing it so it's not cheating? that makes sense

Anonymous said...
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