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Where does Luis Suarez’s bite rank in World Cup’s most shocking moments?

Jun 24, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

With the world still reacting to Luis Suarez‘s bite on Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, it is worth putting this incredible moment into context and where it ranks in World Cup history.

It is right up there as one of the most notorious and controversial moments since the competition began in 1930.

[ RELATED: How long should Luis Suarez be banned after his THIRD bite? ]

[ RELATED: PHOTO – Suarez bites Chiellini ] 

[ RELATED: Chiellini reacts to being bitten ] 

[ RELATED: Suarez reaction on Twitter 

Here are three other incidents, on the pitch, at the World Cup which shocked the world. Suarez’s bite could and probably will eclipse.

Luis Suarez bites Giorgio Chiellini

In the 79th minute of Uruguay’s final Group D game vs. Italy, Luis Suarez approached Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini and bowed his head down into the Juventus defender. Chiellini then fell to the floor grabbing his shoulder, and remonstrated with the referee to look at the bite marks on his his body, presumably from Suarez. The fact that Suarez had already been banned twice for biting opponents in the past with his club teams make this story even more incredible. It has to be up there as one of the most shocking moments in World Cup history. If it’s not No. 1… it is very close.


Zidane was sent off in the World Cup final for a headbutt. It was his last appearance.

Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal vs. England

Just a few years after England and Argentina had battled it out in the Falklands War, Maradona’s actions almost reignited a conflict between the two nations. A looping ball came into England’s penalty box in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal and the Argentina captain got to it just before Three Lions ‘keeper Peter Shilton and knocked the ball into the net. The only problem was… he punched the ball in with his hand. Maradona then had the audacity to run away and celebrate the goal as England’s players remonstrated with the referee. After the game the Argentina legend muttered those immortal words about the goal being “from the hand of God” and there you  have it, one of the most shocking moments in WC history.

Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt on Marco Materazzi

Up until now, this was probably number one on the most notorious moments. In the 2006 World Cup final, French superstar and veteran Zinedine Zidane was guiding France towards their second World Cup title after a tournament which saw the maestro roll back the years to win the Golden Ball and prove everyone wrong. Then, incredibly, he stood up against Italian defender Materazzi, headbutted in the chest and was sent off in the final. France lost on penalty kicks. Zidane retired. The world stood with their jaw dropped to the ground after one of the greatest every players went out in astonishing fashion. Later on, it was revealed that Materazzi aimed disrespectful comments at Zidane’s mother and the women of his family.

Andres Escobar shot dead after scoring own goal to eliminate Colombia

By far the most shocking incident off the field to a World Cup player, Escobar reportedly paid the ultimate price for scoring an own goal vs. the USA in the 1994 World Cup. Colombia were one of the favorites to challenge for the title but lost their opener to Romania and then Escobar’s sliced own goal from John Harkes’ cross sent the South Americans crashing out of the tournament. 10 days after his mistake, Escobar was shot 12 times in Medellin as his error had apparently cost local betting circles a fortune. His death was mourned in the nation as the shocking reality of how much soccer means to people was hit home by this brutal and atrocious killing.

Harald Schumacher decapitates Patrick Battiston in 1982

In the 1982 World Cup in Spain, German goalkeeper Schumacher did his best impression of a human scythe. The French team, which included the likes of Michel Platini, had played their way to the World Cup semis in Seville and after an hour they were locked at 1-1 vs. a very psychical German side. Platini then found some space to work some magic and played in Battiston who went clean through. Schumacher then clattered into Battiston and promptly broke vertebrae in the Frenchman’s back, who also lost two teeth. The referee didn’t even award a free kick and Schumacher went totally unpunished for the incident. Germany won the game on penalties (of course) and made it to to the final where they lost to Italy.

Luis Suarez handballs on the line, knocks Ghana out of World Cup

Yeah, that man again. At the last World Cup Suarez was involved in another highly controversial incident. With the 2010 tournament being in South Africa, the entire continent was behind Ghana as they had the hopes of millions on their shoulders to become the first-ever African team to make the World Cup semifinals by beating Uruguay in the last eight. In the final minute of the game a Ghanaian shot was going into the net, then Suarez popped up to punch the ball off the line. He was given a red card and Ghana was given a penalty kick… But Asamoah Gyan missed the PK, Suarez was seen celebrating as he walked to the locker room and Uruguay later won the game on penalty kicks to destroy the hopes of a continent. Suarez, not for the first or last time in his career, was public enemy number one.

  1. malex930 - Jun 24, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    Wow, what a lazy article. First of all, no matter what (English) journalists try to say, Suarez in 2010 was not controversial, nor did he cheat (my favorite thing). He committed an intentional handball on the goal line and was punished according to the rules – red card, sending off, penalty for the opponent. The fact that he celebrated once Gyan missed doesn’t change the facts of what happened.

    Secondly, no mention of the West Germany/Austria game in 1982 that changed the way the World Cup was scheduled? This has a pretty significant parallel to this year. No De Jong karate kick? Geoff Hurst in 1966? Lampard’s goal/non-goal?

    • poryorick - Jun 25, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      See the Wikipedia article “List of 2010 FIFA World Cup controversies”. There’s a whole section dedicated to the Suarez handball with a litany of references.

      Technically, you’re correct, Suarez didn’t cheat, as such. He just showed extreme disregard for fair play — as he does on a pretty regular basis — and most likely changed the trajectory of the tournament by it; Suarez team was rewarded for his violation of the rules, and to not think that’s controversial is silly.

  2. mcairo67 - Jun 24, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Enough of the “Hand of God” Maradona sound bite. This has been the narrative from sore loser English fans and their anglophile American fans who know little to nothing about “The Hand of God” goal or about that incredible game on June 22, 1986. The English were playing like crap in the first half. Ten minutes into the second half, the English defender pulled a Geoff Cameron, and cleared the ball square in the line of goal to Maradona’s head. In a quick moment of brilliance, he pulled a schoolyard trick and slyly punched the ball into the goal, over a lackluster Peter Chilton who stood nearly a foot taller than Maradona. The ref missed it because Maradona executed the hand ball with the same brilliance he had throughout that tournament. ANd, just to make sure, no one forgets it, exactly five minutes later, Maradona left the entire English midfield and defense wagging their tongues, as he took the ball from behind the center line all the way into the net using only his left foot. It’s been calledd the best goal ever scored in a World Cup, the Goal of the century. Look it up. If you want to continue talking about the Hand of God to justify yet another crap English team, then by all means, keep talking. Outside of England and the US, Maradona is recognized as one of the best players to ever play the game. Even in Brazl, many of the top players regard him much higher than even Pele.

    • wwsiralexd - Jun 24, 2014 at 5:16 PM

      I am American. I know soccer as much as you do, a**hole.

    • raysfan1 - Jun 24, 2014 at 7:24 PM

      The article does not say England lost the match due to the “Hand of God” goal, just that it was one of the most notorious and controversial moments in soccer history. That actually is not debatable–it was both notorious and controversial. It was an intentional hand ball, and the referee missed it. That takes nothing away from how brilliant a player Maradona was, nor does it indicate anyone disputes Argentina was the better side. Continue to make yourself happy though by arguing against something nobody here said.

      • mlsconvert88888 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:00 PM

        Straw man fallacies are fun

  3. talgrath - Jun 24, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Zidane’s headbutt was, I think, far more shocking because he isn’t known for being a violent player. Suarez has done this before, so the reaction was less one of shock and more one of amusement.

    • asimonetti88 - Jun 24, 2014 at 10:50 PM

      It was also in the Final as opposed to the group stage

  4. graymalkin26 - Jun 24, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    How can anyone watch this knob cobbler of a sport…sickening, keep this sport in Europe and SA with the rest of the scum.

    • raysfan1 - Jun 24, 2014 at 8:52 PM

      You should probably stay under your bridge. I hear exposure to sunlight can turn trolls like you into stone.

  5. cubb1 - Jun 25, 2014 at 1:49 AM

    What’s this morons deal with biting people? They should send him packing. No class.

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