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Suarez faces ban for final, too

July 3, 2010
Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG -- Luis Suarez's intentional handball to save a goal could earn him more than a one-game suspension.

FIFA will study reports from the Uruguay-Ghana World Cup quarterfinal before deciding how long to suspend Suarez for his handball that denied the Africans victory.

Luis Suarez
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty ImagesUruguay's Luis Suarez swats away a header by Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah at the end of extra time Friday with the score tied 1-1.

The Uruguay striker could be suspended for the World Cup final should Uruguay beat the Netherlands in their semifinal Tuesday -- a match Suarez must sit out for a mandatory ban.

"The disciplinary committee will be looking at that incident," FIFA spokesman Pekka Odriozola said Saturday. "We don't have any timing on when they will meet to take that decision."

Should Uruguay lose to the Dutch, it will play in the third-place game, and Suarez also could be suspended for that match next Saturday.

FIFA rules call for suspensions of "at least one match" if the panel finds a player guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct toward an opponent.

Suarez swatted away a header by Ghana's Dominic Adiyiah at the very end of extra time with the score 1-1. Ghana's Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty with the final kick of the match, hitting the crossbar, as Suarez looked on from the entrance to the players' tunnel.

Uruguay won the ensuing shootout 4-2.

Suarez, who has three goals in the tournament, said it was "complicated" to be sent off at a World Cup.

"But the way in which I was sent off -- truth is, it was worth it," Suarez said.

Coach Oscar Tabarez said Suarez should be allowed to play in the World Cup final if Uruguay gets there.

"It's not my business. The disciplinary committee will look at it," Tabarez said Saturday. "But I think it [a two-match ban] would be extremely exaggerated."

The handball has also ignited a debate about fair play, but Tabarez defended the Ajax striker.

"I think [calling him a cheat] would be too far-fetched and too twisted," Tabarez said, recalling that Ghana had already gone through a similar situation.

"In this World Cup, Ghana has already been given a penalty because a player stopped the ball on the goal line," Tabarez said. "The only difference is that that goal was to equalize against Australia. This time they missed, but that's not our fault."

Tabarez said Suarez's action was a natural reflex.

"To think that Suarez, when he committed the handball, knew what was going to happen afterward would be something superhuman," the coach said. "The hand of Suarez is the hand of God and the Virgin Mary -- that's how Uruguayans see it."

Defender Jorge Fucile received his second yellow card against Ghana and is also suspended for the semifinal.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press