By Chris Wright
First of all, apologies are due as this was originally intended to go out as an ‘On This Day’ piece yesterday but yours truly completely bungled it. May the good Lord strike me asunder as penance for my sins.
Anyway, July 2nd – not 3rd – marked the fifth anniversary of the dark and stormy day that Luis Suarez truly ascended to the upper echelon of global sporting pantomime villainy.
‘Twas the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals. Uruguay versus Ghana in Johannesburg. 1-1. Both teams are flagging as the game ticks over into the 120th minute. Ghana sling a free-kick into the Uruguayan goal-mouth…
As is protocol in these situations, Suarez was sent-off for his crimes before spending the remainder of the match first visibly celebrating when Asamoah Gyan smacked the resulting spot-kick off the crossbar and then half-hiding, half-loitering at the entrance to the tunnel as the game went to penalties.
Almost inevitably, Uruguay came out on top in the shoot-out with the long, lank figure of Sebastian ‘Loco’ Abreu defying the pulsating pressure to dink home the winning penalty in louche style…
Soccer City erupted. Suarez charged out onto the pitch and celebrated like this…
Like nothing had happened.
“I made the save of the tournament,” Suarez quipped in the press zone after the game. “The ‘Hand of God’ now belongs to me!”
The ultimate heel. Ric Flair would be proud.
It’s undoubtedly his scrappy, win-at-absolutely-any-cost mentality that has dragged Suarez to the top of the mountain, but his sociopathic streak has also certainly lost him more than a few friends along the trail to the summit.
At least he’s never boring.