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Uruguay bites back: Suarez sinks England… but was he offside?

England was left tottering on the brink of elimination from Group D today after mad genius Luis Suarez bit twice to seal a 2-1 win for Uruguay.

And if English fans are feeling sorry for themselves now, wait until they figure out that Suarez’s winner was probably offside.

Photo: Uruguay forward Luis Suarez (centre) blasts the ball past England goalkeeper Joe Hart (right) while defender Tim Cahill watches on.   (Copyright AFP 2014/Luis Acosta)
Photo: Uruguay forward Luis Suarez (centre) blasts the ball past England goalkeeper Joe Hart (right) while defender Gary Cahill watches on.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Luis Acosta)

According to a FIFA amendment to the offside rule last year, a player is offside if a ball “is deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position.”

And, as was the case with Mexico attacker Giovani Dos Santos against Cameroon, Suarez received the ball off a deflection from England captain Steven Gerrard. (Click HERE for footage of Dos Santos’ disallowed item against Cameroon).

The only exception to the rule is: “a player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save), is not considered to have gained an advantage.”

Suarez and Gerrard are Liverpool teammates but it is stretching it to to describe the Englishman’s deflected header as a deliberate assist.

One might think that FIFA’s decision to insert a clause on a deliberate pass from a player to an opponent defies logic. But this is an organisation that awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar and then said it is too hot to play there at the designated time.

Undoubtedly, no one seems to enjoy the taste of controversy more than the gifted Uruguayan.

In Group C, there was a different sort of heartbreaker.

Côte d’Ivoire midfielder Serey Die broke down in tears during the rendition of the national anthem and the UK’s Daily Mail revealed that the player lost his father roughly two hours before kick-off.

Photo: Cameroon midfielder Serey Die broke down in tears during the national anthem.
Photo: Cote d’Ivoire midfielder Serey Die broke down in tears during the national anthem.

In truth, Die’s father died 10 years ago and he was simply overcome with emotion.

“Hello, I just want to say that it’s wrong what they all say,” said Die, via Instagram, that I was moved because of my dad, “but he died in 2004 and it was just the excitement of being in a World Cup and serving my country, Ivory Coast.

“I never thought one day I would be at this level of competition.”

It was the second major hoax to hit the World Cup after an image of Mexico goalkeeper Gabrielle Ochoa with six fingers and a customised glove to match.

Sadly, the holding midfielder was caught in possession for Colombia’s decisive second goal, which came off the boot of clever 21-year-old substitute Juan Quintero.

Côte d’Ivoire coach Sabri Lamouchi withdrew a visibly distraught Die promptly after his error and Gervinho halved the gap for the African nation with a brilliant solo effort. But, once Colombia does not lose to Japan, Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba can still get to the second round with a point from their final group match against Greece.

For England, the end is nigh.

The “Three Lions” must defeat Costa Rica in its final group match—possibly by two goals—and hope that Italy triumphs against Costa Rica and Uruguay respectively.

Suarez, with one good knee, was unplayable.

He peeled away from his marker to head home an Edinson Cavani cross and, after Wayne Rooney equalised with his first ever World Cup goal, Suarez benefitted from an inadvertent back header from Gerrard to drive past a hapless Joe Hart.

FIFA’s law change suggests that a player in an offside position can no longer benefit from an opponent’s error in that way.

But FIFA law often is not worth the paper it is printed on.

 

Today’s World Cup action

Group D

Uruguay 2 (Luis Suarez 39, 84), England 1 (Wayne Rooney 75)

Group C

Colombia 2 (James Rodriguez 64, Juan Quintero 70), Côte d’Ivoire 1 (Gervinho 73)

Japan 0, Greece o

 

Star of the Day

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez hopped off the sick bed to keep his nation’s World Cup dream alive with a brilliant all-round performance and two clinical finishes in Sao Paulo.

 

Villain of the Day

FIFA’s lawmakers for making the offside rule a clumsy and complex affair… Again!

 

Editor’s Note: FIFA amendment in full:

“Gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball…

That rebounds or is deflected to him off the goal post, crossbar or an opponent having been in an offside position.

That rebounds, is deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position.

A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save), is not considered to have gained an advantage.

About Mr. Live Wire

Mr. Live Wire
Mr. Live Wire is an avid news reader who translates media reports for persons who can handle the truth. And satire. Unlike Jack Nicholson, he rarely yells.

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87 comments

  1. well even if the rules work or dont work in there favor…expect ma(FIFA) to find a way…but in this case ..licks is licks…but the 1985 atari type goal line technology is the real source of amusement for me…in that case they need to bench from cricket, field athletics and even horseracing to see what the output of the technology should look like…

  2. Yes Sim,they lost like a bowl ah Simmering stew Mango in mih belly.

  3. Philip Ignacio SC, tell me when the next refereeing course is and I’m coming! I find Wayne Caesar, Kester Lendor and Merere Gonzales real quiet on this swinging debate! Lol

  4. Mango, I feel the same way! All I wanted to know is whether or not England lost de match for true.

  5. Alyuh tell me when alyuh is finished with the sermons nah so that we can get back to who else will be going home today from the World Cup. Lol

  6. Lol. Oh gorm Philip… I feel you helped write that damn amendment oui!

  7. Lasana Liburd please remember that it is not a rule it is Laws, amendment to the Law# 11 Offside. There are no rules in Football just Laws and the referee is the Law keeper. Lesson # 1 when I teach! (Runs away laughing)

  8. Regardless, England would have to live with the score. FIFA doesn’t do replays. But I have conceded the debate. The referee followed FIFA’s intention.
    The wording of the whole thing is what created the bedlam. In essence, it is best to ignore the amendment all together. By the old rule, Suarez was clearly onside. The new rule just creates confusion.

  9. Lasana Please go get your referee certification your interpretation is far better than some of us referees who have been doing this for years. In their quest for a more exciting game the FIFA (AKA to please the US fans) boys have made a mess of this law and I said so from their first amendment, I also have a difficult time trying to explain all these to 16 year old kids who are Football players themselves in a two day course where I have to teach all 17 laws plus the unwritten Law 18 – Common Sense. http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/footballdevelopment/refereeing/02/36/01/11/lawsofthegameweben_neutral.pdf

  10. This FIFA video (http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/video/video=2148674/index.html) turns the whole debate into whether the player was deliberately playing the ball in that path or not. So the ref must have ruled that Gerrard was deliberately heading the ball in that direction, which made Suarez onside.
    The law states “rebounds, is deflected or is played to him” when he is in an offside position. But it seems that FIFA didn’t mean that because Gerrard played the ball to Suarez when he was offside and, as we all know, there was no call.
    Now if the law took out “played to him”, it would suggest that Gerrard’s header was not a deflection. And I would counter that it was not deliberate either. Because when a defender deliberate tries to clear but splices the ball, the referee allows the goalkeeper to catch it because it is ruled to be not a deliberate pass.
    I think this was clumsy and caused a terrific debate. Which we clearly lost!
    So the officials might have followed the spirit of the law. But the letter of the law created this debate and found a wide variety of interpretations about what the hell FIFA was getting at.

  11. It means the ref ruled that Gerrard’s back pass was a deliberate action and therefore Suarez’s goal stood. I dispute whether it was a deliberate pass and not a deflection; and I say the letter of the law doesn’t allow either.
    But I accept that this is how FIFA intended for this rule to be used.

  12. I must say they have compiled some good videos though to try and explain it! But why make it so complicated in the good old days you were in an offside position it is offside no questions asked now you have to be a lawyer as well as a referee and the pay is horrible! ENT?

  13. Based on the wording ,in its clumsiness ,the referee was right.

  14. This is only a debate because of clumsy wording, we all know what the spirit of the law was intended to be but as a crushed Englishman who has spent a lifetime of World Cup Football looking to blame other people for England’s failings I gotta say … this isn’t one of those time.

  15. ^^^^ Did you read the amendment to the rule …..steups

  16. Lasana Liburd

    This FIFA video (http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/video/video=2148674/index.html) turns the whole debate into whether the player was deliberately playing the ball in the attacker’s path or not. So the ref must have ruled that Gerrard was deliberately heading the ball in that direction, which made Suarez onside.
    The law states “rebounds, is deflected or is played to him” when he is in an offside position. But it seems that FIFA didn’t mean that because Gerrard played the ball to Suarez when he was offside and, as we all know, there was no call.
    Now if the law took out “played to him”, it would suggest that Gerrard’s header was not a deflection. And I would counter that it was not deliberate either. Because when a defender deliberate tries to clear but splices the ball, the referee allows the goalkeeper to catch it because it is ruled to be not a deliberate pass.
    I think this was clumsy and caused a terrific debate. Which I clearly lost!
    So the officials might have followed the spirit of the law. But the letter of the law created this debate and found a wide variety of interpretations about what the hell FIFA was getting at.
    By the old rule, Suarez is clearly onside. And the new rule? Best to ignore the damn thing as the referee apparently did!

  17. but lasana you trying to pull a sepp or a jack….with this rule change thing or wah….The british airways plane already in manuas fueling to take the team home

  18. The weight of a law is much heavier than the weight of a rule.

    Laws are like the legal version of rules

  19. Also if you need any more interpretations to the Laws please feel free to ask me no charge this will be Pro Bono just for you my friend! And also please enjoy the games today. http://www.fifa.com/mm/document/worldfootball/clubfootball/01/37/04/27/interpretation_law11_en.pdf

  20. Lasana, will there be a ruling on the controversial goal in the next few days? Or does England have to live with the final score?

  21. Kito Johnson

    I think you have this wrong Lasana. He wasn’t in an offside when the keeper kicked long initially…he only went in front of the last defender after having anticipated Gerrard’s mistake. I have scoured all the press here in England today, and nobody has even mentioned the possibility that Suarez was offside– no one in the media, not one ex-player, not one ex-referee…no one. I bet my last pound that had their been a sniff of offside in that goal, then all of England would have been crying bloody blue murder against the villainous Suarez.

  22. See what I said earlier Lasana I told you that it was not clear like it was written by Lawyers. We had a great debate on this Amendment during our instructor refresher this spring and no one could fully agree. It will become more clear to referees as we debate it more this season.

  23. he was not off side it come off a defender head tho stupezzzzz

  24. It is a great debate. And all because of FIFA’s possibly clumsy wording.

  25. Now, was Gerrard’s header a controlled back pass? Or an inadvertent header?
    Should the rule of a back pass to the keeper apply? If a defender makes a controlled pass to his own keeper, it is a free kick to the other side… But if he splices a clearance and the keeper catches it, it is not ruled a deliberate back pass and is allowed with no free kick.

  26. Like Gerrard really want Suarez to stay at Anfield

  27. hahahahaha meh obeah man finally got it right yes England leaving on a jet plane ent, well America will be following them come Sunday and it isn’t me that say that eh, is meh obeah man that say so.

  28. Lasana Liburd is the off side rule really relevant to the game or is it just tradition ? Quite frankly if moving it means more goals, sign me up. I have no problem with more 4-5 games.

  29. Exactly Markus. And Suarez was in an offside position when the deflection came from Gerrard. 😉

  30. Here it is, Lasana Liburd
    That rebounds or is deflected to him of the goal post, crossbar or an opponent having been in an offside position.
    That rebounds, is deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position.
    A player in an offside position. Having been! Means: he needed to be offside before! That’s what I think! 🙂

  31. Guess you need two lawyers to argue this rule….

  32. Markus, if the player went to Gerrard straight from the goalkeeper, Suarez would be onside. But it didn’t. It came from Gerrard. Gerrard’s flick and Suarez’s positioning at the time made it offside.

  33. Lasana Liburd I don’t agree! It says: having been in an offside position. So he had to be offside before! But he was not offside when the ball came from the goalie

  34. Markus, it is where the striker stands when the ball is played to him. The rule no longer differentiates with regard to if that final pass came from a teammate or an opponent. Once you are in an offside position at that point, then you are offside.
    I suppose the fact that this debate has been this long suggests that fifa’s law is nowhere near as clear as it should be.
    I quoted the law amendment in the article.

  35. That’s such a cruel goal to give up

  36. Robert Dumas, it is precisely because Gerrard got the touch that it was offside. I quoted the relevant law. Click on the story and read for yourself.

  37. What was FIFA’s amendment to the offside rule last year? I saw Suarez in a clearly offside position BEFORE the England player butted the ball; but I’m being advised that last year the rule was amended so the goal is good.

    • According to a referee (well respected one at that) It’s not necessarily the deflection that allowed Suarez to be onside. From what I understand, Suarez will not be considered offside IF the player who deflected the ball had ample time to make a play on the ball but miss-hits or deflects the ball. The key to the ruling is if the referee thinks the defending player had enough time to make a play on the ball. From the kick by the GK to the head of the defending player (Gerrard) is more than enough time to make a play on the ball. It ends up being a discretionary call by the referee and his assistants. Good goal.

    • Where does it say in the rule about having ample time to play the ball?

    • Karma finally caught up with England for pulling Brent Sancho’s locks during the WC some years ago.

  38. I don’t believe it was offside, Steven Gerrard got a touch and so it was fair play, had he not got that touch then it would’ve been offside. England desperately need a crosser of the ball, and decisive passer, missing the likes of Scholes and Beckham.

  39. I don’t agree with removal of the law but the “interference of play” & active play needs to be reviewed.

  40. I watchin all dis footbal for d last year and didn kno dat amendment yes

  41. I have been in favor of getting rid of the offside rule ! My dear friends think I crazy. Then at least have instant replay. Too often officials affect the outcome of games, and I’m no English fan….

  42. Lasana it wi will take time like all other LAW changes foe all referees to become adept remember this change just came into effect for the 2013-2014 year. Another thing Colin the are called Laws not rules!

  43. Hmm well a lot of commentators and people probably aren’t au fait with the little rule change then, because i recall of a lot high profiles football pundits berating the official for calling that Dos Santos goal vs Mexico off-side at the time

    Potentially an excellent observation here L…

  44. That wouldn’t have helped Spain though because they picked the wrong squad to start with. Lol

  45. Actually Lasana, the rules for dangerous play have pretty much been abandoned. And believe me, there are numerous players on the local scene who can clear a ball end to end with ease and accuracy.

    Your point about the substitutions is quite valid. It does make for a faster pace and gives a savvy coach much more tactical latitude to change a game.

  46. Suarez was correctly not called offside and here is why: Gerrard rose for the header and got a touch, meaning he “deliberately plays the ball.” The amendment language about a “save” is in reference to goalkeepers.
    Yes, Suarez was behind the last defender, but it’s Gerrard’s deliberate touch off of his head and backwards. The rule does not care if the touch is careless, as Gerrard’s was. Gerrard meant to head the ball, it was deliberate, so Suarez can be in that position and play the ball.

  47. Guys, I cover hockey and I can testify to what Kendall is saying. Yes, teams can leave a loafer upfront. But then it means you have less numbers at the other end.
    I think the clincher might be that hockey has unlimited subs. And once you are fresh enough to press your opponent, it doesn’t matter who is offside because they cannot get it to them.
    And it is more difficult to clear the ball long in hockey (in my opinion) because of rules for dangerous play.

  48. Here is Giovani Dos Santos “goal” against Cameroon that was ruled out for the same principle.

  49. I know what you suggesting. And I get it. But it will create players who really just loitering, not contributing much, waiting for an opportunity. It will send scores up and it will kill the game. I think the offside rule works.

  50. Sorry lasana we don’t always get it right that’s why we have goal line technology being introduced now!

  51. What makes you say that? All I said was the removal of offside didn’t result in what Kirk predicted. I play both sports and played before and after the rule change. If you watch the sport, you will see what I mean.

  52. U can’t be serious Kendall Tull

  53. Shambolic…I like that word a lot.

  54. Not so Kirk. The experience in hockey which is tactically like football doesn’t support that statement. Defences push up to compress the play – same as before. Keeper play a sweeping role, same as before.

  55. Hmm yea Big L, that does suggest Suarez was off-side clearly then. Ah well ENG still defended shambolic.

  56. Philip Ignacio SC, this has nothing to do with interpretation. It is black and white.
    “Gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball…
    That rebounds or is deflected to him off the goal post, crossbar or an opponent having been in an offside position.
    That rebounds, is deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position.
    A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save), is not considered to have gained an advantage.

  57. I was showing my husband the thread on your status about this whole offside position when your tag came in. To be quite honest offside is the only thing in football for the life of me I cannot understand to the point that I have given up trying. Whenever I dont understand something in football you know who I turning to but not even him and my other football experts cud get me to understand offside. But am loving the debating though 🙂

  58. Ha the ENG media done starting the hectic potential post tournament inquest, very boring. ENG got stuffed by a lethal Suarez & they won’t be last team to @ club or international football. End of.

  59. Without offside rules teams would torture oppositions defence. It is a vital part of the game.

  60. Suarez was inside when keeper kicked ball, thus – not offside.

  61. Even basic English is difficult for some people. The rule itself couldn’t explain it ownself anymore, unless it could speak..

  62. Lasagna if you could interpret this Law change you better become a referee instructor, because I am one and it is difficult to interpret! It is also in the opinion of the referee to make the call. So I am saying the referee was correct in his call!

  63. The ball was deflected to Suarez; Gerrard didn’t intentionally try to find him.

  64. Ainsley Nate Noel and Darin Lewis, interference doesn’t come into the rule change at all. Here it is:
    “Gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball…
    That rebounds or is deflected to him off the goal post, crossbar or an opponent having been in an offside position.
    That rebounds, is deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position.
    A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent, who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save), is not considered to have gained an advantage.

  65. Ahem. I’m not an England fan and could not care less Rodney Gopaul. As a sport journalist, I try to pay attention to the rules though.

  66. amazing what Suarez brought to Uruguay

  67. that a lie don’t make any excuses take it like a big man !!!

  68. I say remove offside and be done with the nonsense.

  69. Lasana Liburd I think you are wrong! Because the rules says: “… Having been in an offside position.” And Suarez was not offside at the time the goalie kicked the ball, he was only offside when the ball came from Gerrard. But that doesn’t matter, because he was not offside before!

  70. People in favor of no offside will be singing a different tune when man like Hernandez have 49 goals in 11 games:)

  71. @Lisana Liburd: Actually, pretty much everyone in the international press agrees that both goals scored by Dos Santos in the match vs. Cameroon and ruled out for offside were valid. In fact, the only debatable one was the first one, where he was in line with the defenders. The second one, scored from a corner after a deflection from a Cameroonian player, was an outrageous decision by the ref. Did you actually read any press at all on the matter before posting that video?

    • Lasana Liburd

      First of all, I am a member of the press myself. So why should I wait for everyone else to say something before I know whether it is true or not?
      Secondly, I just had a conversation with a friend at ESPN who pointed out that Steve Nicol was the only person to find the rule book for the Cameroon/Mexico game. Everyone thought he was mad at first but realised that Nicol was correct and Dos Santos was offside.
      By that same token, he accepts that Suarez was offside.
      Don’t stick with the herd Paul W. Read the rule yourself.

  72. Actually, Suarez was perfectly onside scoring his winner, as the amendment to the offside rule linked in the article clearly states.

    That’s because he was onside when the keeper cleared the ball, so the second part of the rule (“having been offside”) is not applicable at the time Gerrard attempted the save.

    What the rule says is that the player has to be offside in the first place (i.e., when their last teammate touches the ball) in order to be offside when an opponent (or the post/crossbar) makes the save. It continues to say that if a player was offside when their last teammate touched the ball, but in the meantime the opposing team recovered it and one of the players of the opposing team makes a deliberate pass that is intercepted by the player who was previously in an offside position, then that should NOT count as an offside as it was not an unfair gain of advantage.

    In conclusion, Suarez would only have been offside when scoring if he had already been offside when the ball was cleared. He was onside at the time, as all the cameras and the post-match analysis showed, so the goal was perfectly valid.

    In any case, England did a good job and both teams deserve their share of respect for the performance displayed today.

    • Lasana Liburd

      Wow. You just did the impossible and made offside more complicated.
      If a Uruguay player headed the ball to Suarez instead of Gerrard would he have been offside?
      Yes, he would have been. The law attempts to take away any distinction between who makes final pass and focus on where the attacking player is.
      As a result, Suarez was offside. Let us not make it more complex than it is.

  73. The story about Serey Die is not quite true, his father passed away in 2004, not the 2 hours before the game that the internet as deemed to be the case.

    http://screamer.deadspin.com/serey-die-broke-down-during-his-national-anthem-1593384573?utm_campaign=socialflow_deadspin_twitter&utm_source=deadspin_twitter&utm_medium=socialflow