Italy v Uruguay: Group D - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Raising bar on villainy, Suarez says, “He thrust his shoulder into me”


Luis Suarez is an enigma, a talent and a villain whose actions would be deemed inauthentic by film critics were they created by a Hollywood studio.

Exhibits A through U are his brilliant goals, assists and turns, though V, W and X are his three bites of opponents and Y is the 27-year-old’s racist abuse of Patrice Evra.

Which brings us to Z: his reaction to the incident on Tuesday, where he bit Giorgio Chiellini of Italy. Instead of pretending it didn’t happen, Suarez is contending the Italian ran right into his teeth.

From the AP:

“These are things that happen on the pitch, we were both in the area, he thrust his shoulder into me,” Suarez said in Spanish. “These things happen on the pitch, and we don’t have to give them so much (importance).”

These are the words of a lunatic, and even a suspension is not going to change him. He will feel comfortable in the role of the victim, just as he has continued to deny the Evra race row.

This is a man who grabbed his teeth on the ground after the incident, as if to already have his “shoulder thrust” defense at the ready. He’s a calculating villain, this Suarez, and at the best he was hoping to convince the crowd and officials that Chiellini didn’t taste as delicious as he first suspected.

Two matches, two months, two years: it won’t matter. Some of us were suckered back into Suarez’s camp following his PR run last year, but the fact remains that not everyone is 100 percent hero or 100 percent demon; Suarez is entirely capable of stopping to have fun with a disable fan in a park as he is paging Dr. Lecter.

And while it’s curious to watch Liverpool or Uruguay fans try to defend or deflect the cases against their hero, it’s important to note that this is far from a case unique to soccer nor sport. Baseball’s Barry Bonds was a reported cheater and world-class jerk, and Ndamukong Suh remains both a Detroit Lion and a fan favorite.

Sports drive fans to do crazy things.

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

[ RELATED: Chiellini reacts to being bitten ] 

[ RELATED: Suarez reaction on Twitter 

[ RELATED: Where does Suarez’s bite rank in WC’s most shocking moments? ]

How will USMNT line up vs. Mexico in CONCACAF Cup?

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You probably don’t need reminding, but just in case you do, the U.S. national team face Mexico in a huge one-off CONCACAF Cup game on Saturday at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

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The winner will represent CONCACAF at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia as Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT side are the underdogs against El Tri.

With plenty of struggles and a hangover from the 2015 Gold Cup failure, Klinsmann is under pressure and getting his team selection spot on will be crucial if the USA are going to get past Mexico in front of over 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl.

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Below I suggest three possible starting lineups, then give my conclusion on how I think the U.S. will lineup.

Let us know if you agree by posting your own lineups in the comments section below.

JPW’s choice

—– Guzan —–

— Johnson — Cameron — Besler — Ream —

Jones —– Bradley

— Bedoya — Dempsey — Zardes —

—– Altidore —–

Mix-and-match XI

—– Howard —–

— Cameron — Besler — Ream — Beasley —

—– Williams —–

— Yedlin — Bradley — Zusi —

— Altidore — Zardes —

Stopping Mexico

—– Howard —–

— Johnson — Besler — Ream — Beasley —

—– Cameron —–

— Dempsey — Williams — Bradley — Jones —

— Altidore —


I think Klinsmann’s choice is the way to go, although Tim Howard‘s presence in goal over Brad Guzan would certainly help strengthen the USA’s defense. A center back pairing of Cameron and Besler must happen, while having Johnson in at right back will be a boost and Ream’s size may see him get the nod over Beasely but the veteran is likely to start if fit. In midfield I’d go with Jones and Bradley sitting in front of othe back four and then that would allow, Zardes, Bedoya and Dempsey to support Altidore up top.

The final selection is ultra-defensive, but given the form of his team and Mexico’s attacking talents, Klinsmann may start more defensive and then change tact as the game goes on. Having all of your most-experienced players on the pitch will prove vital to succeeding at the Rose Bowl, therefore, even though the Mix-and-Match XI looks speedy and is dangerous, I’d expect to see “JPW’s choice” or “Stopping Mexico” to be more like the starting lineup on Saturday.

“Legends World Cup” hope to bring Beckham, Zidane to Mexico

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David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane coaxed out of retirement to play in a “Legends World Cup” you say?

Well, that got my attention.

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According to an interview with the BBC’s world service, the organizers of the 2017 Legends World Cup are hoping to entice both Becks and Zizou to roll back the years and represent their nations in Mexico.

Beckham, 40, and Zidane, 43, are already putting their boots back on to captain a Great Britain and Ireland XI vs. a World XI for a friendly at Old Trafford on November 14 to raise money for UNICEF, and former Mexico goalkeeper Jorge Campos, 48, has urged the duo to take part in the tournament in 2017 where he will coach Mexico’s team.

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From the BBC:

“I want to see Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Brazilian Ronaldo,” said Campos, 48, the flamboyant ex-Mexico goalkeeper who will coach his country.

“Everybody wants to see Argentina’s Diego Maradona, but he can’t play. He’s too old.”

The tournament is scheduled to take place at the beginning of 2017, with 12 teams in total — four from the Americas, six from Europe and one each from Africa and Asia — taking part.

Given the age (players must be aged between 35-45) and caliber of the players Campos and Co. are trying to recruit, let’s have a think about who would play for the U.S.

Landon Donovan and Brian McBride up front? Brad Friedel in goal? Let us know who would make the squad.