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