Uruguay sealed their passage to the upcoming last-16 stage of the World Cup, but it was not without controversy as the Liverpool forward appeared to bite his Italian counterpart on the shoulder.
FIFA have confirmed that they will investigate the incident, with Suarez facing a two-year international ban if found guilty of the offence.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez and team captain Diego Lugano have sought to play down the issue, with Tabarez saying “I’d like to see the images first before making any comment. If it happened, then the referee probably didn’t see it. Despite mistakes, [Suarez] is the target of certain media, a certain press. It seems to me there’s a certain animosity towards him.”
And Suarez himself insists that he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
“These things happen inside the penalty area,” he told Channel 10 radio station. “We were chest against shoulder. I also immediately suffered a blow to the eye.”
In 2013, the 27-year-old was slapped with a 10-game ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic, three years after he was banned for a similar incident when playing for Ajax.
Suarez passed a race against time to be fit for the world cup as he was reported to have sustained a knee injury playing for Liverpool against Newcastle United on the May 11 final day of the English Premier League 2013-2014 season.
The injury drew extreme reaction from Uruguay football fans who were fearing that he may not be fit to take his place in the national team for the World Cup.
And the player whose challenge required the Uruguayan star to have knee surgery was reportedly bombarded with death threats.
Some fans took to Twitter to unleash their fury at the 22-year-old, with many posting violent messages on the social media network.
One message read: “Hi Paul Dummett. I hope some day you come here (Uruguay) to have a nice time with friends. We have things for you, like a bullet in the head.”
Another tweeted: “Hey, Paul Dummett. If Suárez doesn’t play against England, you’ll never play again.”
The English Football Association rescinded Dummett’s suspension following the May 11 incident, and Suarez was able to join up with his national side for a training camp in Montevideo — but limped out in a warmup on May 21st and following an MRI scan which showed damage to the meniscus he had keyhole surgery the following day.
Suarez left the hospital in a wheelchair following the procedure, but Uruguay’s football association insisted his participation in the World Cup in Brazil was not being ruled out.
He was subsequently named in the Uruguayan World Cup squad, did not play in their June 14 opener which they lost 1-3 against Costa Rica.
He however started against England in Uruguay’s June 19th second match and scored both goals in his team’s 2-1 win, taking his international tally to 40 from 78 appearances then.
Defender Diego Godin scored Uruguay’s single-goal winner yesterday within a minute of Suarez’s biting incident.
As a result the South Americans booked their place in the second round where they will play fellow South Americans Colombia, the Group C winner, on Saturday from 4 pm.
They leapfrogged Italy into second with six points, one off Group winner Costa Rica in Group D.
Also on Saturday, Group A winner Brazil plays Group B runner-up Chile from noon.