Off The Pitch Wrap
Welcome to my weekly column Off The Pitch wrap, bringing you up to date with the weeks sporting events and news.
Suarez bites again
The biggest story of this week has to be the Luis Suarez biting incident against Italy at the World Cup, the incident took place in the 80th minute of the game between Uruguay and Italy.
Luis Suarez inexplicably appeared to bite Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder; this incensed the centre-back who ran to the referee straight away to show him the bite mark. The referee was not interested in what Chiellini wanted to say or show him, the game went on with Uruguay moments later getting the winner and knocking Italy out of the world cup.
It’s not the first time the Uruguayan striker has unleashed his fangs on an opposition player, back in April last year during a 2–2 draw with Chelsea in a Premier League game at Anfield, Suárez bit Branislav Ivanović. He was charged with violent conduct by the FA and banned for ten matches and fined two weeks wages. Before that in 2010 he bit an opposition player in a game against Ajax and PSV, Ajax suspended him for two games and fined him an undisclosed amount.
This time around FIFA have handed him a nine-match international ban and banned him from football for the next four months as well as a £64,000. Giorgio Chiellini came out and said after the ban was handed out that the ban was a bit excessive and harsh, Suarez has left Brazil and gone back home to Uruguay.
On the Football side of things a lot of big names have gone home before the Knockout stage of the world Cup. Spain was most probably the biggest disappointment, the world champions had a disastrous world cup only managing to win of their three group games.
England who only managed to pick up one point in a tough group where Italy also bowed out, after beating England in their opening game they went on to lose to the surprise package of the world cup Costa Rica. Portugal and Ronaldo had a disastrous start to their world cup campaign losing 4-0 to Germany and having Pepe sent off early. Ronaldo wasn’t fully fit for this world cup as he carried a knee injury into to the tournament and it showed in his performances. He only got on the score sheet once in Portugal’s last group game against Ghana. They missed out on qualification to the next round due to goal difference.
The Round of 16 started this Saturday with Brazil taking on Chile and Colombia versus Uruguay. Brazil just scrapped through on penalties against their South American rivals; Chile looked the better of the two sides in the 120 minutes of football. Chile came close at the end of extra time with a Maurico Pinalla thunder bolt that crashed of the Brazilian crossbar and rebounded all the way to the halfway line. Julio Cesar was the hero for Brazil in the penalty shootout, saving two spot kicks; Gonzalo Jara was the unlucky player who smacked the post with his penalty to give Brazil the win. In the other game of the night Colombia beat Uruguay 2-0, with James Rodriguez scored arguably the goal of the world cup so far to give the Colombians the advantage in the first half. He also is now the top goal scorer in this world cup so far with 5 goals, Colombia will now meet Brazil in the quarter-finals on Friday.
On Sunday Netherlands left it late to beat Mexico 2-1, Netherlands were given a controversial penalty in the 90th minute which Klaas Jan Huntelaar tucked away to send the Dutch through to the quarter-finals and break Mexican hearts. Netherlands will face Costa Rica in the next round who beat Greece in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time.Michael Umana scored the decisive penalty as Costa Rica won the shootout 5-3 after the game ended 1-1 following extra time.
There is still four more round of 16 games to be played:
France vs Nigeria, 30 June
Germany vs Algeria, 30 June
Argentina vs Switzerland, 1 July
Belgium vs USA, 1 July
In transfer news Manchester United splashed the cash with the capture of Andre Herrera and Luke Shaw. The 24-year-old Herrera moves from Atletico Bilbao to United for a fee of £29 million, Luke Shaw becomes the most expensive teenager ever when Manchester splashed out £30 million for the 18-year-old. Within 24 hours Manchester United spent £56 million.
Manchester City was busy to as they added the Brazilian midfielder Fernando from FC Porto to their squad for £12 million. Liverpool is on the verge of signing Adam Lallana from Southampton, he had a medical on Friday afternoon at Liverpool’s training base.
The Springboks took on Scotland on Saturday at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, the Springboks scored eight tries to record a comprehensive 55-6 victory. Scotland looked way out of their depth and never really threatened the South African goal line; the Springboks scored an early try and never looked back as the walloped the Scots and sent them back home battered and bruised.
South Africa – Tries: Marcell Coetzee (2), Wille le Roux, Lwazi Mvovo (2), JP Pietersen, Lood de Jager (2). Conversions: Handre Pollard (5), Marnitz Boshoff. Penalty: Handre Pollard.
Scotland – Penalties: Duncan Weir (2).
Super Rugby started up again this weekend with the Waratahs leapfrogging the Sharks to go top of the overall log with a 39-8 win over the Brumbies on Saturday. The South African teams were not involved in this round of games, as the Springboks played this weekend against the Scots to finish their Castle Lager Incoming Series.
28 June – Western Force 14 – 40 Blues, NIB Stadium, Perth
28 June – Waratahs 39 – 8 Brumbies, ANZ Stadium, Sydney
28 June – Hurricanes 16 – 9 Crusaders, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
27 June – Melbourne Rebels 20 – 36 Reds, AAMI Park, Melbourne
27 June – Highlanders 29 – 25 Chiefs, Forsyth Barr, Dunedin
Wimbledon kicked of last week Monday, meaning Strawberries and Cream will be selling out in London quickly for the next two weeks. In the men’s draw there have been no real upsets as all the top seeds have progressed to the second week of action. South African Kevin Anderson takes on the defending champion and the home crowd favorite Andy Murray on Sunday in the last 16 round.
In the women’s draw we have seen two upsets so far as the second seed Li Na of China departed on Friday when Russia’s Barbora Zahlavova Strycova beat her in two sets 7-6 7-6, in their third-round match at Wimbledon.
Wimbledon great Serena Williams was sent packing by a Frenchwoman Alize Cornet who celebrated by kissing the Court One turf. Willams’s was looking for her 6th title at the All England Club but fell short on Saturday losing 1-6 6-3 6-4 ,World No 1 Williams, had not fallen before the fourth round at Wimbledon since 2005.
The richest man in Sports Lebron James is to become a free agent; he said on Wednesday, he will exercise his early termination option in his contract with the Miami Heat. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh will Follow him as they announced on Saturday that they also will become free agents and leave the Miami Heat.
In other news the NBA draft took place on Thursday last week with Cameroonian Joel Embiid being selected by the Philadelphia 76ers, The Houston Rockets selected Clint Capela of Angolan and Congolese origin.
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