It’s seven years to the day since Luis Suarez became a World Cup villain after *that* infamous handball while playing for Uruguay against Ghana.
The South American forward denied Ghana a place in the World Cup semi-finals by palming away Dominic Adiyiah’s header on the goal-line in the dying seconds of the match, with the scores tied at 1-1.
Suarez left the pitch in tears but celebrated euphorically seconds later after Asamoah Gyan hit the crossbar from the penalty spot.
No further goals were scored in extra-time and Uruguay advanced to the semis after winning the penalty shoot-out 4-2.
The large majority of football fans regarded Uruguay’s victory as a major sporting injustice. Suarez, needless to say, was heavily criticised for his actions.
The livewire striker, who was with Ajax at the time but would complete a £22.7 million transfer to Liverpool six months later, was unrepentant after the match.
What Suarez said after the match made things worse
In fact, he ended up making things worse by bragging about his handball.
"The Hand of God now belongs to me,” Suarez was quoted as saying at the time by the Guardian. “Mine is the real Hand Of God.
"I made the best save of the tournament. Sometimes in training I play as a goalkeeper so it was worth it. There was no alternative but for me to do that and when they missed the penalty I thought 'It is a miracle and we are alive in the tournament'.
"Now we are in the semi-finals although I was very sad because no one likes to be sent off. The celebration afterwards was impressive, but very quiet because nobody gave us a chance but, with courage, we move forward."
Surely most players would have done the same thing?
Some people still regard Suarez’s handball as the biggest example of ‘cheating’ in football history - but surely most players in his position would have done the exact same thing?
Would English football fans have criticised Wayne Rooney for making a goal-line clearance with his hand if it meant England progressing to the semi-finals?
Or Argentine fans with Lionel Messi? Spanish fans with Andres Iniesta, or Ghanaian fans with Gyan?
Suarez could have made things easier for himself
We’ll never know for certain - although it’s fair to say Suarez could have made things easier for himself with both his post-penalty reaction and his post-match comments.
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