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Did Luis Suarez cheat?

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Uruguay 1 – 1 Ghana

Uruguay win 4 – 2 on penalties.

For those of you who didn’t watch the match, in the 120th minute, literally the last few seconds of the 30 minutes of extra time in the match, Ghana had a series of shots on goal, three if memory serves me correctly (and it seldom does).  The first two shots were parried by the Uruguayan keeper and a defender on the line, legitimately.  The third, a header, was deliberately punched away — by Luis Suarez, a Uruguayan striker.  In other words, one of the ten guys in blue and black who technically can not touch the ball with his hands.  Unlike the 2002 Quarter Final match between the USA and Germany, the ref spotted the foul, red carded Suarez, and awarded Ghana a penalty.

Ghana make this penalty, the match is effectively over, and Ghana go through to the Semi Finals.

I’m not certain that Suarez considered the various probabilities in his decision tree, but he clearly, deliberately punched the ball clear, so he did make some sort of split second decision, on purpose.

So, did he cheat?

No.  He did the rational thing.  It was perhaps not the sporting, moral, or ethical choice, and definitely the cynical choice, but given the nature of the match, he made the correct decision.

If he doesn’t act, the ball goes in, and Uruguay are out.  Plain and simple.  If he acts, there’s a small chance that he does not get spotted by the referee (again, see USA v Germany 2002).  If he does get spotted and correctly sent off, there’s a chance that Ghana miss the penalty.  The odds of both of those events occurring in that order are slim, but as luck would have it, did indeed occur.  Suarez didn’t cheat, he operated within the rules of the game.  Odds are Ghana would have converted the penalty, and we wouldn’t be discussing this.  However, they didn’t, and continued to miss a couple more during the shootout.

The solution to this is plain (as plain as the solution to the Lampard disallowed goal in England v Germany): FIFA need to change the rule.  When it’s plain as day that the goal would have scored in the absence of this deliberate hand ball, they should go ahead and count the goal.  Goals scored are disallowed for any number of reasons; why not allow a goal that hasn’t crossed the line?

Discuss.

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  • tbishop

    Actualy FIFA did comment on the goal not counting and if any of you watched the game or at least a replay Suarez would have headed the ball if he didn’t hit it with his hands. And just as fifa has ruled before in many games that a player (will still be carded) can hit the ball to protect their face. I am a Fifa trained Ref and that was one of maybe 3 lagit calls made that game.

    • Anonymous

      You dumb ass. He was not protecting his face. What game were you watching?

    • Anonymous

      There were 3 legit call made in the entire game??? Hahahha… that’s sad.

  • David

    Consider this. In the third place match between Uruguay and Germany there was a similar situation on a corner kick in which the ball was rattling around near the Uruguay goal mouth. If it is a natural move to do anything to keep the ball from crossing the line how come no Uruguayan players handled the ball on this occasion? I think the ESPN commentators have no guts to call a spade a spade. They guy cheated and no amount of rationalizing will take that stain away. I agree there should be a rule change like a penalty try in rugby. These rules are not designed to be “gamed.” They are designed to keep players who are not goalies from handling the ball.

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