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Uruguay: Suarez's shame

Team Assessment Jul 1, 2014
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Bite-Gate revisited

Men in Blazers Jun 28, 2014
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Jul 1, 2014

Assessment: Suarez's shame

Luis Suarez was sent home in disgrace after FIFA banned him for nine Uruguay matches as well as worldwide for four months following the biting incident with Giorgio Chiellini.

Uruguay bowed out of the World Cup at the Last 16 and Luis Suarez's biting shame overshadowed their tournament. ESPNFC blogger Felipe Miguel looks back at an eventful campaign.

One sentence, World Cup recap

A bumpy yet exhilarating ride with some moments of ecstasy interspersed with grief.

All team assessments

Group Stage: Australia | Bosnia-Herzegovina | Cameroon | Croatia | Ecuador | England | Ghana | Honduras | Italy | Iran
Ivory Coast Japan | Portugal | Russia | South Korea | Spain
Round of 16: Algeria | Chile | Greece | Mexico
Nigeria | Switzerland | Uruguay | United States
Quarterfinals: Colombia | France | Belgium | Costa Rica
Semifinals: Brazil | Netherlands
Finalists: Argentina
Winners: Germany

Star Man

A tough decision but Diego Godin takes the prize over Egidio Arevalo Rios. The defender was one of the few players who stood out from the rest. Physically and mentally ready for everything, Godin proved the armband fitted perfectly to his arm and became the leader of the team throughout the tournament. With his late goal against Italy -- one of the most important in recent Uruguayan history -- he showed the world it wasn't a coincidence that he scored a title winning goal for Atletico Madrid in La Liga.

Highlights

Unfortunately, the greatest highlight comes from a player who will inevitably turn out to be the biggest low point too. Suarez's double against England was a magnificent moment that won't be easy to forget: coming back from injury, with little time on the clock, sending the country that had turned against him out of the tournament with a beautiful fly ferocious goal. That was the moment when Uruguay returned to life and the fans truly believed, once again, that anything was possible. Godin's header that finished off Italy was also magic. With even less time remaining and the chances of qualifying slipping through their fingers, the captain produced another unforgettable moment for La Celeste.

Other than that, it is important to point out Jose Maria Gimenez's impressive first World Cup and the fine display by Rios and Alvaro Gonzalez in the midfield.

Suarez's two goals England were crucial in sealing Uruguay's passage to the round of 16.

Low Points

To talk about the team's inability to create chances per game or the lack of offensive options is almost ridiculous if you put it next to Suarez's ban. The news of the sanction -- dubbed "barbaric" in Uruguay among other terms -- shocked the nation.

Losing Suarez for the rest of the tournament was the worst possible scenario for La Celeste. If you add that the star striker won't be able to play in the Copa America next year and probably misses the start of qualifying for Russia 2018, the catastrophe is complete. Uruguay hoped to repeat the success of 2010 -- or even the Maracanazo of 1950 -- but in the end it was a horrifying exit.

Lessons Learned

During the extremely long and painful road that is the South American qualifiers to the Word Cup -- in my opinion by far the hardest one in the world -- La Celeste had to put up with all sorts of criticism. It was claimed that Oscar Tabarez was done, Rios was past his prime and Suarez only scored against small teams. But this side confounded the critics and these players need to be supported. They have the true "Garra Charrua" inside of them.

Regarding negatives, a few squad members failed to impress or didn't get their chance. Abel Hernandez, for example, has been the "fourth" striker for years but he is not good enough. Also, Diego Perez and Sebastian Coates didn't play a single minute in the entire tournament. Perhaps a lesson to be learned would be the importance of being meticulous when it comes to selecting a squad, especially when the team lacked options in attack.