Mourinho: Suarez deserves ban

The Chelsea manager believes the length of the suspension is correct but feels the Liverpool striker should still be able to attend matches during his four months out

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Jose Mourinho says Luis Suarez‘s suspension for biting Giorgio Chiellini is deserved but the Chelsea manager admits he cannot justify the forward’s stadium ban.

The Liverpool forward received a nine-match international suspension and a four-month global ban from Fifa for biting Chiellini during Uruguay’s win over Italy on Tuesday.

Due to the stipulation of his suspension which prevents him from attending any football match, Suarez was not inside the Maracana as Uruguay were dumped out of the World Cup after being beaten 2-0 by Colombia in their last-16 fixture on Saturday.

“I think the punishment is deserved because it is an accumulation of [incidents where Suarez has committed] the same negative act on the football pitch,” Mourinho told Yahoo.

“What I really don’t like in football is the stadium ban. What’s the problem for Suarez to be in the stadium, in the middle of the Uruguay supporters watching the game between his country and Colombia?

“It’s too hard, it’s something that I really don’t understand.

“If his punishment comes as a sequence of three similar mistakes in three different situations, it is something that he deserves. It has to stop.”

Disgraced Suarez finally admits to biting Chiellini

Having previously denied any wrongdoing, the Uruguayan has come forward to apologise to the Italian defender

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Disgraced Uruguay striker Luis Suarez has finally admitted to biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

The Liverpool forward has been barred from all football-related activity for four months, banned for nine competitive international matches and hit with an €80,000 fine.

Suarez had previously denied biting the defender, instead insisting his face “hit against the player, leaving a small bruise … and a strong pain in my teeth” but has now come clean.

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The fallout from the incident has been vast and wide-reaching, with the president of the Uruguay Football Association, Jose Murjica, calling the ban “fascist” and Uruguay team-mate Diego Lugano branding it an “act of barbarity”.

Suarez was previously banned for seven matches in 2010 for biting PSV’s Otman Bakkal, during his time at Ajax before being suspended for a further 10 games after biting Branislav Ivanovic while playing for Liverpool.

The Uruguayan FA have informed Fifa that they will appeal against the ban, though it remains to be seen if Suarez’s apology will change their stance.

Chiellini himself has called the punishment on Suarez “excessive” and took to Twitter shortly after the Uruguayan’s apology to make it clear he holds no grudges over the incident.

 

 

Arevalo: Everyone wanted Uruguay out of the World Cup

The midfielder has stressed his belief that his nation were the victims of a vendetta against them in the wake of their 2-0 loss to Colombia at the Maracana

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Uruguay midfielder Arevalo Rios believes that “everyone” wanted his nation out of the World Cup, following their 2-0 round of 16 loss to Uruguay at the Maracana.

A double from James Rodriguez ended Uruguay’s controversial tournament, after they were forced to make do without Luis Suarez, due to the four-month ban from football imposed on him for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini coming into effect.

A goal in either half sealed their fate, but Rios reckons that his side have been victimised from all quarters throughout the event.

He told Uruguayan TV: “We had to fight against everyone. And when I say everyone, we were against everyone. Since the World Cup draw, we know they wanted us out of the World Cup.

“This group showed that we won’t stop fighting when things become harder and harder. We had two victories against big teams in the world and we did everything

 

Scolari: Brazil and Neymar singled out by referees

The former Portugal boss was unhappy at the treatment dished out to his star man in Saturday’s World Cup penalty shoot-out win over Chile

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Luiz Felipe Scolari feels his Brazil side, and Neymar in particular, are being singled out for special treatment by referees.

Barcelona star Neymar was on the receiving end of some heavy tackles from Chile in Saturday’s World Cup round of 16 clash.

Although Scolari was delighted his players had emerged victorious in a tense penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw after extra-time, he was less enamoured by the performance of English referee Howard Webb.

He said: “I remember when I was Portugal coach and, in the fifth minute of the game, Netherlands defender Khalid Boulahrouz broke Cristiano Ronaldo in half and he had to go off 10 minutes later.

“When I saw Neymar after the game today I remembered that. Some people say Neymar falls too easily. He fell three times. There were 15 fouls on [Alexis] Sanchez and after 12 he went down.

“We have four or five days to get Neymar in shape for the next match. It is a big problem, his thigh is swollen.”

There was a lot of talk early in the tournament that Brazil were receiving preferential treatment from officials, most notably after the questionable penalty which enabled them to see off Croatia in the opening game.

Scolari believes things have now turned full circle, adding: “Everything that is wrong is with Brazil. We always see how things happen and how hesitant referees are when it comes to Brazil.

“If we are going to be champions it can’t be like this, it has to be the same for everyone. We’re starting to doubt that.”

Brazil 1-1 Chile (pens 3-2): Super Cesar saves Selecao from early exit

The hosts went ahead through David Luiz but were pegged back shortly afterwards by Alexis Sanchez and the game needed spot kicks to see Felipao’s men into the next round

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Brazil overcame enormous pressure to edge past Chile on penalties in their World Cup last 16 clash in Belo Horizonte on Saturday following a 1-1 draw after extra-time.

David Luiz officially opened the scoring for Brazil after Thiago Silva’s flick-on from a Neymar corner, although replays seemed to suggest the ball had come off Chile’s Gonzalo Jara.

But the host nation were pegged back just after the half-hour mark when Alexis Sanchez equalised following sloppy Selecao defending from a throw-in deep in their own half.

Brazil fans were then brought to their feet 10 minutes into the second half only to have their hopes of a second goal dashed after Hulk’s strike was disallowed for a handball in the build-up.

Both South American sides struggled to fashion a better goalscoring chance as energy levels dropped and the game went into extra-time, when Mauricio Pinilla had the best chance to win the match for Chile by crashing a 20-yard strike against the crossbar in the 120th minute.

And so the last-16 tie had to be decided with spot kicks and it was Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar who stood out as the hero, pulling off two saves to see Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men into the quarter-finals.

Three hours earlier, thoughts that a highly-charged atmosphere would simmer after the spine-tingling national anthems were quickly dispelled, as Fernandinho – starting in midfield in place of the much-maligned Paulinho – crunched into an early challenge.

Perhaps concluding that there was already enough yellow on show in the stadium, referee Howard Webb rightly kept his cards in his pocket.

Brazil started brightly, beating Chile at their own game as they pressed high and afforded their South American counterparts little space.

And after 18 minutes their endeavour brought the corner that created the opening goal, Thiago Silva flicking on Neymar’s delivery to the back post – where Gonzalo Jara tussled with David Luiz. The Paris Saint-Germain-bound defender was officially credited with the goal, although replays suggested that Jara had got a decisive touch to divert the ball goalward.

Far from assuming control, though, Brazil were made to pay for some sloppiness at the back 14 minutes later, Eduardo Vargas intercepting a stray Hulk pass and sliding in Sanchez, who produced the coolest of side-footed finishes.

Suddenly end-to-end in nature, the game almost had a third goal before the break as Neymar, Fred and Dani Alves all went close.

Chile gave another reminder of their threat just prior to the interval, Alexis denied his second only by Luiz’s last-ditch sliding challenge.

Another flashpoint came quickly after the restart, Brazil prevented from taking the lead when Hulk was crucially adjudged to have handled Marcelo’s ball over the top, which had preceded a fine left-footed finish.

The decision was met by a cacophony of jeers from the home fans, but relief was to displace any feelings of injustice Brazil might have had a few moments later, Julio Cesar producing a stunning reactionary save to keep out Charles Aranguiz’s effort following fine work from Arturo Vidal and Mauricio Isla.

Brazil continued to look dangerous at the other end, although Neymar’s customary composure deserted him as he headed Alves’ cross straight at goalkeeper Claudio Bravo – who was later on hand to keep out a powerful Hulk strike.

Extra time brought with it an added caginess – albeit with the exception of Hulk, who – apparently spurred on by a sense of injustice – was at the heart of everything, epitomised by a powerful effort that forced Bravo into a stop.

With Chile suddenly camped on their own box, further chances did not materialise but Jorge Sampaoli’s underdogs almost snatched it right at the end of the added period – substitute Pinilla rattling the woodwork with a thunderous drive in the final minute as the hosts were afforded a huge slice of good fortune.

And it was one they took full advantage of. Brazil immediately took control of the shoot-out as David Luiz sent Bravo the wrong way and Pinilla saw his effort saved by Julio Cesar.

And, despite misses from Willian and Hulk, Jara rattled the post with the final kick to leave Neymar’s cooly taken effort as the winning one.

 

 

Martino admits Guardiola shadow loomed large at Barcelona

Tata Martino has spoken of his difficult 12 months at Barcelona.

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The Argentine coach admits the shadow of Pep Guardiola was a constant factor.

“Pep’s Barcelona was the best team in all history. That comparison was never positive,” he said to Marca.

“At Barcelona, winning wasn’t enough. If you won, it was thanks to the players and if you lost, it was my fault. It was hard to continue.

“When the players back their coach in public it’s nice at the time but you soon grow weary.”

 

 

Napoli striker Higuain in dark over Barcelona rumours

Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain is in the dark over talk of interest from Barcelona.

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The former Real Madrid forward has been linked with Barca since the end of last season.

“Me to Barcelona? I don’t know anything about it and I have nothing to say,” Higuain told a Press conference at Argentina’s World Cup base.

“Now I’m only thinking about the World Cup.”