Hero or villain? The Luis Suárez debate continues

By Robin Woolley
Luis Suárez

Luis Suárez

Luis Suárez’s cynical handball in the dying seconds of extra time prevented Ghana from becoming Africa’s first ever World Cup semi-finalists.

The Uruguayan striker quite rightly received a straight red card for his display of volleyball technique in preventing the African side from clinching a last-minute winner.

However, Asamoah Gyan’s subsequent penalty miss kept Uruguay in the match and posed an interesting moral question surrounding Suárez’s actions.

Normally one tries to keep sport, politics and morality as separate and distinct as possible, but on occasions such as this it becomes increasingly difficult.

Some have seen Suárez’s handball as a gamble that ultimately paid off as his side went on to book their place in the last four of the competition.

Others have labelled him as a cheat and drawn comparisons with Maradona’s infamous Hand of God in 1986.

So, on which side should the average neutral viewer fall? Was it a clever gamble or a blatant act of cheating?

Imagine if that was the World Cup final between England and, say, Germany, and the scores are level going into the dying seconds of extra time.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is tripped by Frank Lampard about 10 yards outside the England penalty area, giving Germany one last chance to threaten.

Mesut Özil curls over a free kick, which is met by the head of Miroslav Klose. The ball is destined for the back of the net, until Wayne Rooney intervenes and punches the ball off the line.

Rooney is red-carded and Germany have a penalty, which Klose blazes over the cross bar with the last kick of the game.

England go on to win the match on penalties. Would you really care that England had won in such a manner?

Reading many of the comments from readers on a variety of websites gives the impression that most people would not care if England won the World Cup in such a manner.

But, those same people are bemoaning Suárez for cheating. It simply does not add up.

Does it come down to the fact that football fans are ultimately hypocritical and clamber up onto the moral high ground at every opportunity?

Sadly, it probably is true.

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