The Suarez Handball: Ingenius or Infamous?

LuisSuarez (GettyImages)

It will go down as one of the most controversial plays in World Cup history, and the debate continues to rage on.

Was Luis Suarez's handball against Ghana an intelligent play and the right play, or was it cheating of the highest order and a smear on the game we all love?

What's my take? I think it was an instant reaction where Suarez realized his team's tournament would end if the ball went in so he did everything he could to stop it. He sacrificed himself to give his team a chance to survive. It was a move that almost any player would make if put in the same situation, and one I'd definitely make if put in that same situation.

What do you think of the play? Cast your vote here:

How did you vote? What did you think of the handball?

Share your thoughts on the play below.

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163 Responses to The Suarez Handball: Ingenius or Infamous?

  1. hendrix says:

    I don’t have a problem with it. He was punished according to the rules of the game, with a red card, sending off, and no suspension for the next match.
    Ghana was appropriately awarded a penalty kick. If the player had made the kick, then Suarez would be home by now.

  2. pete says:

    most definitely the right play. he took his punishment. the referees made the right call. gyan is to blame for losing the game.

  3. Strathcona FC says:

    Agreed. In the end, it was neither brilliant nor stupid. It was just a reflex. Only in hindsight can we say it was smart, given Gyan’s miss, and Uruguay’s victory on penalties. Uruguay is more lucky than anything.

    (SBI-To suggest it was “just a reflex” would suggest that any time a player is on the line and can punch away a goal they will. That’s obviously not the case. He knew what was on the line and acted. Call it reflex, instinct, or anything else. It was a great play at that moment.)

  4. Robert says:

    He took the chance. I would too. According to the rules, the opposing team gets a penalty and the player is ejected. Ghana had the chance but missed it. The same would have happened if it had been a handball in the first minute. Your team would have to play the match a man down and (possibly) a goal down as well.

    Ask yourself this… If it had been Donovan, would you call him a hero? It’s the chance to send your country through even if it means losing the next match if you are absent.

    One thing that annoys me is that he gets a one game ban. It should be two at least, or the rest of the tournament. It’s as bad as a leg-breaking tackle in my mind.

    I hope Holland is able to beat Uruguay and that they lose the third place match also. Some karma would be nice. It was still a heartbreaking play for millions. Remember that we always cheer for certain teams to lose anyway (as Argentinians did for Brazil’s loss).

  5. FulhamPete says:

    Violation, severest in-game sanctions possible, Gyan blows the penalty, Uru goes through.

    Exactly according to the rules, exactly the way it should be.

  6. ec says:

    I’m confused when people call it “cheating”, it’s no more so than when a defender intentionally takes down an attacker running on goal. It’s a foul, a penalty, a red card. But not cheating.

    At least it was called (cough cough Torsten Frings cough cough).

  7. Pkang says:

    I think I am so sick of this debate.

  8. DaveH says:

    My beef is less with Suarez for the handball, which my well have been just a reflex, than with you for so lauding and celebrating it as a smart, wise play. It’s against the rules; if penalty shot had gone in, as most do, would you still honor him? I see it more as sad for Ghana that they missed the resulting PK that would have won them the game, and then also made fewer PKs to decide the game, when — if everyone had played by the rules, they’d have scored that goal in the run of play, and be through to the next round.

    People can play the rules to their favor, and it’s legal, but I don’t have to like it. Yankees buy the best team they can in baseball b/c there’s no salary cap; it’s not against the rules, but it’s not good for the overall game, + should be ruled out. Until it is (hoping, hoping) Yankees are still allowed to do it, but I’m also still allowed to hate ’em for it!

  9. thrill says:

    I’ve been thinking about this handball vs the Henry one, and why I seem to accept them differently – I think it’s all because it’s defense vs. offense. Henry used an opportunity to gain advantage to score a goal – I can certainly understand the sudden opportunistic action – but I don’t really like it – and he gained advantage from the play without a penalty. But Suarez make a conscious decision to use his hands to prevent a goal against his team and paid a penalty – it was basically a sacrifice play – and I don’t really mind it at all. Sure, a goal counts the same whether for or against your team – but I find my acceptance of the violation is different depending on which it is.

  10. Brad says:

    Obviously it was a good play for Uruguay, but it’s so against the spirit of the game and fair play and I think it sets an ugly precedent. I would have banned him for 2 games.

  11. jman81 says:

    I cant pick either choice because they are the extremes, so how about an in-between choice? 3) A play that is understandable under the circumstances, but I would not do the same.

  12. Jack Savidge says:

    As a coach, I would want any one of my players to do the same thing. And frankly, any of the Ghanian players would have done the exact same thing if it had happened on the other end of the field.

  13. 88% approve… SBI mafia know tootie… Saurez is a hero! Him and the german kid will be missed in the semis…

  14. BlackEyeOrangeBlood says:

    No problem at all with what Suarez did. Rules are in place to discourage certain actions. At all moments in the game there are calculated decisions. Should I pull a shirt? Should I make this dangerous tackle? Should I shoot from long distance? Should I make this pass? If the situation seems advantageous to your team, then the answer is yes. The problem occurs when the penalty does not discourage the action. As the rules are written, at all times, and in every case, Suarez should do what he did. In order to discourage what Suarez did, the rules must change. Simply, the goal should be awarded and he should be given a red card. By making this change, the offending player does not gain an advantage.

  15. Galaxy G says:

    It’s much different than a defender taking out someone running in on goal. In that case, the defender is denying a goal scoring opportunity. In this case, Suarez denies a certain goal. It’s much, much worse.

    I think Suarez acted in the best interest of his team so I can’t hold too much against him but it does leave a very bad taste in my mouth. It would leave the same bad taste if one of the boys on the USMNT did it as well.

    I don’t think the problem lies in what Suarez did but what the rules dictate must be done as a result. Ghana was robbed by a loophole in the rules.

  16. Josh says:

    I don’t like it, or at least I don’t like his reaction afterward. The simplest way to fix this is for FIFA to change the rule so that if a goal-bound ball is cleared off the line by someone’s hand, it counts as a goal (similar to the goaltending rule basketball, only in soccer it’s a clearer case of “the ball was actually going in”).

  17. What’s so confusing about it? He intentionally broke the rules in order to try and win. And you’re right, it is no more cheating than when someone running on goal is pulled down from behind; that is also cheating to try and win. There is no honor in it. I don’t play and watch sports to see the most disgusting behaviors that people are capable of; I want to be uplifted by seeing our best.

    When a player makes a play like that they damage the game. Good spirited competition is something that has to be valued. What we see in sports nowadays reflects cultural beliefs that winning at all costs is a good thing. It is very disturbing that the majority of football fans defend Suarez. There is nothing courageous about what he did. He was honestly beaten and he cheated. The fact that people are defending this is as disgusting as the act itself.

    Don’t think that I don’t know football, it is way too big a part of my life, and I know that this has become par for the course. When I see things like this, I think about the kids I teach. I hate that they would have seen this, but what worries me more is the dad that would tell his kid that it was the right thing to do.

  18. froboy says:

    I disagree with awarding the goal, it is more comparable to american football when a receiver beats his defender deep and will complete a long TD catch in the endzone and the defender just hits him before he can catch it, the team with the ball has 1st and goal on the one and should score, it is part of the game and well within the rules to accept the punishment for the infraction of the rule

  19. You should absolutely not be coaching.

  20. ec says:

    Yeah, I wish it wasn’t Suarez who did it, he’s a real talent.

    I think a bigger problem (than the handball) is the idea that 2 yellow’s in 5 matches gets you a suspension, when one or both of them can be total BS like Muller’s was on Saturday. He’s done nothing to warrant the powers that be to declare he is unfit to compete in the biggest game of his life.

  21. Stephen says:

    He was suspended for the next match…The semi-final.

  22. mo says:

    I don’t see any difference with Thierry hand-ry hand ball, he made his country to go to the world cup too.

  23. FIFA needs to take harsh action on both Suarez and the other player on the line who was also grabbing at the ball (see the replay), fines and multi-game suspension.

  24. Patrick says:

    Suarez did what he had to do. In the history of the world cup, about 20% of penalties have been saved. In taking that ball of the line with his hands, he changed the odds of his team advancing from 0% to 20%.

  25. Patrick says:

    And it payed off.

  26. ga-gone says:

    Don’t hate the playa… hate the game. I would have done the same. He was punished within the rules of the game, and Ghana blew it.

    Additionally, it should have never been a free kick in the first place, so I’m really not losing any sleep over this.

  27. Jake Oliver says:

    Don’t have a problem with Suarez’s actions, but I’d explore changing the rule. It’s one thing to deny a “goal scoring opportunity” but Suarez took away a goal. In circumstances like that, I’d like to see FIFA adopt a goaltending rule similar to basketball. Suarez cheated, got caught, got punished within the rules of the game yet the benefit out weighs the consequences astronomically.

    Before anyone jumps down my throat and claims I’m trying to Americanize soccer by making this suggestion I’ll go on record as saying I kinda hate basketball.

  28. fivefouls says:

    It’s completely against the spirit of the game, that’s my problem with it. It’s one thing if a guy is one-v-one with the goalkeeper and gets dragged down from behind. There are variables at play there. Dude still has to finish/get the goalkeeper to guess wrong/etc. Penalty kick basically resets that opportunity.

    BUT in this case. The ball was GOING in. The Ghanaian made his shot to a place that the defender couldn’t possibly get to, but Suarez violated the rules of the game in order to turn what was a goal into a PK.

    I consider myself a “soccer guy” as American sports types often classify us. I’m pretty sure the whole point of the sport was to not use your hands. This just leaves an absolutely awful taste in my mouth.

    Don’t give me that “All Ghana had to do was nail a PK” bull. They made a goal in the run of play, but homeboy from Uruguay didn’t like it.

    (AND I KNOW other teams would’ve done the same thing, doesn’t make it any less sickening)

  29. Big time CHOKE says:

    “Ghana was robbed by a loophole in the rules.”

    Sorry but that is BS, crap, a steaming pile of cow dung.

    Ghana was not robbed. They were given

    a chance to right the wrong committed by Suarez.

    It’s not Uruguay’s fault or the ref’s fault or the rulez committee’s fault that Ghana screwed it up and blew the penalty. I bet you Ireland would have died for he chance to right Henry’s handball as easily.

    Was it a tough penalty to take? Given the pressure sure; but other players (see Landon Donovan), have made pressure penalties.

    If you think the result was in injustice, then put the blame where it belongs, on Gyan and the Ghana guys who later missed their penalties in the shootout. This is a cruel game for chokers.

  30. Jake Oliver says:

    Also, I think Manuel Neuer’s actions against England were far more unsportsmanlike. Suarez committed an infraction, accepted the call and the red card. Neuer saw the ball was over the line and acted quickly to deceive the referee and linesman. Surely those who think Suarez deserves a harsher suspension than the mandated one match should have called for Neuer to be held out of the quarterfinal.

  31. Stephen says:

    If it would have been Donovan, I would have been pissed. Any of the backline or Jozy Altidore I would have been ok with. We would have been f-ed to be without Donovan.

  32. Stephen says:

    I agree. The Ghanian players would have done the same thing. They didn’t complain too much just that it was a hand ball and a red. They got the penalty and it was missed. The ref called it right.

  33. Galaxy G says:

    The ball was going in the net because someone from Ghana put it on it’s way there. That guy didn’t choke. Suarez took away a certain goal. Awarding a penalty to let someone else try again, isn’t just.

    Yes, they choked in the penalties but my argument is that it never should have gotten that far. They’d already won the game by scoring a clutch goal but it was taken away because someone cheated. The rules need to be changed to take away the reward for a player in Suarez’s position to act the way he did.

    At the end of the day, it’s not fair…but then again, life isn’t fair. We move on and try to do better next time.

  34. froboy says:

    Suarez knew he would be called for it, Henry tried to get away with it, the difference is the ref didn’t call it on Henry

  35. michael says:

    Is Hack-a-Shaq a scourge on basketball? Does Bill Belicheck intentionally taking a safety in order to put his team in a better strategic position differ from this? I frankly don’t see the difference.

    And it’s nonsense to say that “knowingly breaking the rules” is some great offense–players break the rules when they kick the ball out of bounds too. There’s an economy of infractions and penalties that players must engage in just as much as they consider the risk and rewards of passes, runs, etc.

    Ghana has advanced in the last 2 world cups on their ability to “draw” fortunate penalties. This, to me, seemed the pinnacle of justice.

  36. phil says:

    If I didn’t think it now give permission for every fullback to become the backup keeper I’d say it wasn’t a problem. But you’re going to see this become a standard defending practice in injury time of every important match from here on out now.

    That said, if Ghana had converted that PK we wouldn’t be talking about this at all, so…

  37. Stephen says:

    Well I agree that the benefit outweighs the consequences, to an extent. Suarez misses the next game. He is Uruguay’s 2nd leading scorer for the tournament. They need him on the field. If they lose he could be a scapegoat for it.

  38. phil says:

    totally agree with tis observation. what neuer did was akin to diving in the box.

    BUT if we had instant replay or a 4th offical this wouldn’t be an issue.

  39. Paul says:

    Jack Oliver’s right. That was not an opportunity, it was a sure thing. The goal should count. Change the rule.

  40. Stephen says:

    I didn’t know it was a rule to “not kick the ball out of bounds.”

  41. Andy says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing FIFA institute a goal-tending rule, ala NBA.

    If a deliberate handball on or near the goal-line stops the ball from obviously crossing the goal-line (and scoring a goal), then a goal is directly awarded in lieu of awarding a penalty. Any card punishment for the offending player would be handled as usual.

    Simply put, the Ghana game proved that a penalty award is not a good enough penalty for stopping the ball from crossing the line illegally. Yeah, stop a guy from taking shot by fouling him, etc. – that prevents a goal-scoring *opportunity* but to physically stop the ball from crossing the plane of the goal with your hand doesn’t prevent an opportunity, it prevents an actual *goal* and should be awarded as such.

  42. NJ Guy No Longer Stuck in DC says:

    Give me a break – players have been doing this for decades. And it’s only in the past 20 (or 25?) years or so that refs have been handing out red cards for it. Shoot, in times past there were a few extra PKs every season because of it.

    It was a smart play and will remain so – good for Suarez. He’s paying the consequences. And please, for you against the “spirit of the game” types, the spirit of soccer is mostly cynical, especially at the international level.

    There is a heck of a lot more wrong with deception and lousy refereeing.

  43. CG says:

    This seems a little bit ridiculous to me. Would we be having this debate if the infraction had occurred in the first minute of extra time? I really don’t think so. Seems to me we’re only having it as a result of the timing. But that’s the point as well. If the timing were different, then Suarez probably doesn’t stick his arm out. Rules aren’t made for spirit and all of that. The game is played for those reasons. The rules are made to lay out the consequences of unsporting actions and protect players. There is a spirit to the rules, but that lies in the interpretation – sort of like arguing semantics. This isn’t one of those cases. Suarez knew exactly what he was doing and was certainly willing to accept the consequence. In that split second he determined that jumping on the grenade was in the best interest of his team. The official made the call and he was gone. It’s simple, and in my opinion was the correct decision – at that moment and in that situation – even if Gyan had scored.

    It sucks for Ghana. I won’t deny that, but I don’t think Suarez should be burned at the stake here. Again, we are talking about one very specific and unique situation. At any other time in the game, this whole conversation is irrelevant because Suarez would have hurt his team (assuming, fairly, that Gyan should have scored the penalty) by having to play a man down and might rightly be criticized. These are, of course, only my opinions. I can see the other side of the argument. Just don’t agree with it on this one.

  44. ec says:

    Also a problem where you draw that line of what is “deliberate”. Does Harry Kewell get one vs Ghana?

    And they seemed to be able to convert that penalty just fine.

  45. Mike says:

    the rules of the game are simple, you can’t use
    your hands,
    to do anything else is to cheat,
    I understand that we make decisions whether to
    cheat or not based on the punishment that
    will be accorded if we are caught,
    but it is still cheating,

    I don’t think it would be appropriate to condone
    cheating or to coach cheating,

    does the penalty need to be stricter ?

    I think that the straight red card should
    be a three game suspension,

    that a red from two yellow cards should be
    a one game suspension,

    should the referee be allowed to award a goal
    that wasn’t scored but in the opinion of the
    referee would have gone in without the cheating,


    the penalty kick is not intended to rectify
    it is intended to punish intentional fouls in the
    box,(usually to prevent goal scoring opportunities,
    not to prevent goals)

    should FIFA rush to make changes, probably not,

    but if cheaters are glorified as heroes,
    then FIFA will be forced to make changes,

  46. KenC says:

    Brilliant, because his punishment did not match the reward; however, I find it reprehensible that the sport would reward intentional cheating. This was no reflex, the reflex in soccer is to not use your hands; otherwise, he’d be grabbing the ball anytime it flew by him on the field of play.

  47. Jackie Treehorn says:

    That’s right. Ghana player dove to win the free kick. No replays of it and that fact sort of got lost in the shuffle.

  48. JSmiley says:

    Basketball allows the goal when someone goal-tends. Baseball allows the run when there’s interference. Soccer should allow the goal when there’s hand ball on the goal line. And a red card, too. Then, using one’s hands will be against the rules, just like it is now, but people won’t do it and they won’t ruin the game.

    Different sports change their rules all the time to make them seem more fair. Soccer should do the same.

  49. Mason says:

    Refs seem to have enough problems calling goals as is. Do you really want them calling goals on balls that had the opportunity to cross the line but for a deliberate handling?

  50. r.benjamin says:

    Why doesn’t the conversation also pertain to the German keeper (Nuer?) who played the ball on after Lampard scored. He deceived the referee and denied a clear goal.

    In my opinion pulling a player down and Saurez are equal. Bad and punishable but also “good fouls” as they call them in the NBA.

    Diving like De Rossi did to get a PK and Neur to a lesser extent are worse. They are deception.

  51. CG says:

    How is the sport rewarding Suarez’s behavior? I don’t get this angle. Ghana was awarded a penalty and Suarez was expelled from two games. Where is the reward?

    The sport absolutely DOES NOT reward cheating. Read the book.

  52. UnitedinTX says:

    I opted not to vote because IMO the right answer lies somewhere in between. It is the right move given the moment and the rules of the game. I too believe it was an instinct reaction and certainly he did not have the chance to really think all the consequences at the time other than to keep the ball out at all cost. Did Suarez think that he was giving his team a chance to win? No. The answer is more like Suarez was giving his team a chance not to lose. Little did he think that Ghana would throw it all away.
    But the most important part of this event is that i do think that this moment sets a dangerous precedent. I am sure that teams will probably resort to the same tactic unless FIFA acts now and change the rules. The rule should be changed to the same as the NBA goal-tending foul. Point should count as well as the player given a red card and suspended.
    BTW, FIFA really blew the call on this by suspending Suarez for only 1 game. It is really setting a precedent by telling players that no harsh penalties will result in this play. FIFA seems oblivious to how this foul, the diving and technology is impacting this game. WAKE UP FIFA.

  53. away goals says:

    “He intentionally broke the rules in order to try and win.” If you consider that cheating, you must have a hard time watching the last minute of any close basketball game.

    Losing teams deliberately and transparently commit fouls to take advantage of the clock stopping and potential for missed free throws. Suarez deliberately and transparently prevented a goal and provided a chance for a missed penalty.

    I wonder if the first basketball coach to employ late game fouling was criticized for violating the spirit of the rules…

  54. r.benjamin says:

    Agreed 100% I’ve watched that play multiple times and still dont see the “foul” that awarded the free kick. A clear dive.

    To me the dive is worse.

  55. CG says:

    A precedent for what, United? Stopping a goal with your hand in the 120th minute of a World Cup quarterfinal game?

    Does anyone honestly think this play is going to lead to a rash of field players handling the ball on the line? No way. It’s a straight red and you get booted from the game, suspended, and possibly fined.

    I will agree with the argument against a one-game suspension. I haven’t read anything about it, but if that was an arbitrary decision to allow Suarez to play in the final if Uruguay advance, then that is wrong. I straight red carries an extra two-game suspension as far as I know.

  56. bottlcaps says:

    It was a “professional” handball. It was a deliberate act and was punished according to the FIFA rules & guidelines; a red card and inside the box, a penalty kick.

    That aside, it was a calculated “cheat”. An obvious handball stopping an obvious goal. In return, Uruguay loses a man for what; a penalty shot! More importantly they get a goalkeeper ready for a shot that has a 30 percent chance of missing or being blocked. So a decision that took away a 100 percent chance for a goal to a 70 percent chance for a goal. And the gamble paid off. Uraguay gets the miss, wins the shootout AND advances. Make Thierry Henry’s handball to allow France to qualify as bush league.

    This has probably alerted a lot of players to a loophole in the rules. Block a shot on goal with your hands on purpose,at the end of an overtime, gain a red card. lose a player but increase the chances of the opponent NOT scoring.

    What FIFA should do is get a list of the first 5 penalty takers, before the start of overtime and, with the exception of legal subs, require the players listed and only the players listed to take the penalty kicks. Should a player not be available because of red card, there will be no subs and the missing player who cannot make a shot attempt, would be scored as a miss.

  57. CSD says:

    “Was Luis Suarez’s handball against Ghana an intelligent play and the right play, or was it cheating of the highest order and a smear on the game we all love?”


  58. r.benjamin says:

    Ruud Gullit before the Uruguay / Ghana match.. paraphrasing “watch out for Suarez.. he’s the type of player that will do anything to win, the pulls the tugs..he’s an opportunuist he’ll get in there and find the ball and thats why he’s been so valuable to Uruguay.

    a. there shouldn’t be a goaltending rule. way too subjective. it would be yet one more way for the refs to dictate game outcomes.

    b. mostly rightly, fifa is slow to change rules and do not knee jerk. you can not change the rule and suddenly ban suarez for more games.

  59. Yes, I do have a hard time watching basketball anymore because issues like this have become so much a part of the game that they aren’t even noticed any more. It becomes a part of the culture of the sport, a culture that appreciates winning at all costs, and requires an official to try and enforce the myriad of rules that the players try and take advantage of. It all makes me want to puke.

    People laugh now when you bring up things like, honor, spririt of the game, doing the right thing etc… It’s sad. Even the sport of Ultimate Frisbee, a sport which once championed the cause of sportsmanship by requiring players to self-officiate even at the highest levels (which actually worked better than any system I’ve ever observed), has started to bring officials (“observers”) into the game because, sadly enough, players today don’t respect sportsmanship as they once did.

  60. pete says:

    baseball doesn’t require the offending team to play with 8 men, nor basketball with 4. The consequence for the infraction is reasonable.

    Does anyone remember the USA-Brazil game in the Gold Cup in 2004 or so? Cory Gibbs did the EXACT same thing, but it was in the days of Golden Goal, and Brazil converted.

  61. Jime says:

    To me, the intentional handball to stop the goal is equivalent to diving in the box. Both are infringements to the rules to try to win the game. The diver hopes the ref will see a legitimate foul. If not – he takes his card. They are using the rules to obtain advantage. But not cheating.

    But I do hope the hype will force FIFA to instigate a goaltending rule.

  62. zizewitz says:

    Totally agreed.

    And it is a fact that an intentional hands in the penal area is an absolutely legal mean

    of defense, subject to penalty kick and expusion, but again, nevertheless legal.

    It was used hundred of times in professional soccer worldwide, before the existence of Red cards not even cause of expulsion.

    I pesonally saw a case where a defense player not only deflected, but catched with the hands a ball just arriving to the goal line, to the merriment of ALL the public!

    Of course, a penalty kick followed.

  63. zizewitz says:

    It is not a loophole. You can write in whatever you want, but if it happens, what can be done in retrospect??

    By the way, in basketball an intentional foul is perfectly normal and punished with 2 or 3 free throws.

    Amd why an intentional harmless hands shall be punished more than an intentional and dangerous foul???

    And: if Suarez would have decided (assuming he had the time to decide anything) not to use this legal resource to avoid for the moment his team demise, would he not be guilty

    of aggravated negligence??

  64. Ben says:

    To all those comparing it to basketball: the rule in basketball has little to do with the ball going in. Once the ball is going down, if it is knocked away, it is goaltending. Also, scoring isn’t at such a premium, so the call doesn’t matter as much. In addition, refs usually err on the side of letting the block stand if it is close.

  65. MensreaJim says:

    I was recently playing basketball with some friends when a guy kicked away an entry pass. We were aghast. The rules clearly say kicking or punching the ball is not allowed. No one knew what to do, and we just looked around. Finally the guilty party walked out of the gym, head down in shame, never to be seen again.

    I know it’s not the same, but I don’t understand people saying “it is against the rules to hand the ball” as if that is enough of a reason to condemn him. Diving in the box is far worse, imo, as it is actually deceitful. There is nothing deceitful about what he did; he calculated the costs and benefits and accepted them, as any rational person would.

    I would be fine with a longer ban or I suppose even a limited goaltending-esque rule, but those aren’t the rules. He played within the rules and saved his country’s world cup.

  66. ZIZEWITZ says:

    Can you elaborate why it is more against the spirit of the game as an intentional foul which injure the oponent??

    And why an intentional foul is a perfectly normal and usual tactical step in basketball??

  67. Andy says:

    Yes, I would award a goal on the Kewell handball.

  68. Zach says:

    Who are you to say he shouldn’t coach? Are you the official Moral Inspector for soccer? Suarez did what he had to do to win. I’d sacrifice myself too for my country.

  69. zizewitz says:

    There is not a loophole in the rules.. You can write in whatever you want, but if it happens, what can be done in retrospect??

    By the way, in basketball an intentional foul is perfectly normal and punished with 2 or 3 free throws.

    And why an intentional harmless hands shall be punished more than an intentional and dangerous foul???

    And: if Suarez would have decided (assuming he had the time to decide anything) not to use this legal resource to avoid for the moment his team demise, would he not be guilty of aggravated negligence??

    I would like these questions answered!

  70. Zach says:

    Great post. Completely agree with everything you said

  71. D says:

    Why is anyone even talking about this? The rules were enforced and Ghana should have scored the pk. Any discussion should be about the rules and whether or not they should change – anything else is a waste of time. Would anyone be talking about this if he had just tripped someone who was about the score? That happens all the time.

    The bigger discussion should be why the ref in Netherlands vs Brazil didn’t give out the cards he should have for intentional fouls to kill Brazilian attacks.

  72. war says:

    Kewell did the same thing, just not in the last minute of the match. You never know if these things are intentional or instintive. He was punished accordingly, but Gyan should have made it in the first place. If he did, no one would have a problem with Suarez. If things don’t go the way you plan, you assign the blame to someone else.

  73. I’m an elementary teacher and a youth soccer coach that knows very well that kids learn much about life from participating in and watching sports.

    I cannot put into words how upset I was by the play, and I’m sure that I’m more emotionally invested in this than those with opposing views. To me it boils down to what is right, and if doing the right thing is more important than getting what you want at all costs. Not surprisingly, roughly 9/10 people on SBI disagree. I’d love to see what the vote would be had Ives not let his opinion be known, but whatever. I find the whole thing very depressing, but not at all surprising.

    Jack S., sorry I said that you shouldn’t coach. It’s just that I mean it so very strongly that I couldn’t help myself. At least stay away from coaching kids.

  74. fivefouls says:

    Intentional fouling is not comparable at all (and you guys are getting annoying with the comparison too). You intentional foul to stop the clock and send a guy to the free throw line instead of shooting. In this case, the ball was going in, and Suarez intentionally knocked it out, in basketball, that’s called goaltending. If he intentionally takes dude out from behind in the box, other variables are still in play, PK makes sense. But that’s not what happened. Dude got a shot on goal that was impossible to stop without purposefully throwing your hands into it.

    For the record, an intentional foul can also result in 2-3 free throws + possession of the ball afterwards. Just not a fitting comparison at all.

    In a sense here, we had a 100% goal that was lessened to a 75% goal through the infraction of the defending player. Basically, illegal play was rewarded. It’s not like playing a man down was a real penalty as it was the end of the game, and it’s not like Ghana gives two shits if Suarez misses NEXT match.

  75. fivefouls says:

    Not to mention the fact that it’s comparing two completely different sports, one where scoring is hardly at a premium and one where it is extremely rare.

  76. FLNYC says:

    If the linesman hadn’t made an error in awarding the free kick to begin with, we would be talking about how the penalty kicks went. When you watch the replay you can see that there was no foul and the forward tripped over his own feet. (Not to mention Appiah being offside on the free kick). All this moral outrage over an event which should never have occurred is too tiresome.

  77. Zach says:

    i still think you’re wrong to tell others not to coach but i’ll leave that point alone.

    Do you think my opinion is in anyway shaped by the fact that Ives shared his opinion? I like his site but I strongly disagree on most of his opinions which is fine…it’s good to have varying opinions.

    I understand your views on right vs. wrong, but I think you are looking at it from the wrong vantage point. Instead of looking at it as Suarez “cheating” Ghana out of a win, I look at it as the ultimate sacrifice…the ultimate example of placing the team before one’s self. He willingly committed a handball to give his team and his country (a county obsessed with soccer and very proud of their soccer history) a chance of moving on to the next round. Just my take.

  78. kpugs says:

    I can’t believe the results of that poll. I remember Torsten Frings sending us home in 2002 with the same intentional play. It’s nothing short of scumbaggery.

    It horrifies me that so many people just supported the worst type of cheating, I’m disgusted. Maybe this is one of the big reasons why the biggest haters of American soccer come from our own country.

  79. Jake Oliver says:

    are you kidding? Suarez’s punishment is to miss a game, but had he not stuck his hand out Uruguay would be home and Ghana would be preparing for a match with Holland. Nobody is going to make him out to be a scapegoat for missing the game because his cheating is the biggest reason they’re playing the game to begin with.

  80. Phil Jackson says:

    You may not have seen the 70’s Knicks and the way Red Holzzan would employ specific players to deliver specific fouls at specific times. Mike Riordan would sit until the last five minutes and then get up to give strategic fouls.

  81. Big Time CHOKE says:

    Did you watch the game?

    Gyan choked big time. He lost the game for Ghana.

    He was awarded a penalty AFTER Suarez committed his foul and was sent off….And he missed it with literally the last tocuh of regulation time. Make that penalty and Ghana wins the game and Uruguay are out and all is right in your world.. But he choked big time. So they have to go to penalty shootout where again the Ghanans choked.

  82. Obviously many people agree with you. I do understand the whole placing the team before oneself deal, I just think that this notion of Suarez as a selfless teammate is misguided. I’m sure he’ll be a saint in Uruguay for his “self-less” act. He made a calculated move knowing that he would be the one what would be punished to give his team a chance. It sounds great. It reminds me of a clip of this American football player from the 50’s who actually came from the sideline on to the field during the Rose Bowl and tackled a guy running free for a touchdown. The way that both he and Suarez reacted are so incredibly similar. They were both distraught and immediately ashamed of what they had done, and I think their instincts were right. I’m getting a little overly philosophical, but we’re in a world where we face moral dilemmas everyday, and everyday more and more people chose to do whatever it takes to get what they want, disregarding any notion of wrong or right.

  83. Big time CHOKE says:

    You do realize that the direct result of Suarez’s handball was a penalty kick awarded to Ghana do you not? And that Ghana missed that kick with the last touch of the game? You do do remember that don’t you? And that if they made that penalty Ghana would have won?

  84. DaveW says:

    In general handballs in attack are treated more lightly(by refs) than defensive ones, though I have seen more refs giving yellows for handling in attack this World Cup.
    It bothers me more that scoring a goal with a deliberate handball is punished so much less than the defensive equivalent–goal called back and at most a yellow vs red and penalty.

  85. Brennan says:

    Why is this any worse than flopping in the box? He took advantage of the rules, and was punished accordingly. Its Ghanas fault they werent able to capitalize.

  86. spacemonkey says:

    Then the team denied the goal should get FOUR penalty kicks, assuming they will score within four tries.

    That’s the only way you can compare this, and even then it is not very comparable.

  87. joe says:

    A hand ball- even in that situation- is not as bad as breaking someone’s leg… get real dude. would anyone like to mention that the foul awarded that caused that play was complete BS? uruguay played well enough to win and they, in turn, advanced. that’s it

  88. Manny F says:

    Suarez + handball = Ghana penalty kick + RED CARD

    Ghana + missed pk = Penalty shoot out

    Ghana + bad penalty kickers = loss

    But I guess everyone wanted to see this equation:
    Suarez – handball = Ghana win – minus suspense.

    Good play on Suarez, American’s need to get off their high horse with some of these calls. Where do you come off telling the rest of the world how to play a sport that we have just begun to re embrace in the past 10 years. Americans are nothing but liars and cheats and you hold the World accountable when they do it in Sports. Please. Just look at all the cheaters we have in the Olympics, NFL, and MLB due to steroid usage. Get off your high horse. Suarez did what any American would have done. He got sent off and will pay for it with a suspension in the semis. And he isn’t guaranteed a spot at the final. So the handball might have been all for nothing in the end.

    I don’t like the diving and all the bullcrap that Fifa allows to continue. But I also don’t blame the athletes and teams for said tactics. Everyone is out to make it into the best position possible. But not all handballs are equal. The Maradona and Henry handballs are nothing like the Frings and Suarez handball. We might look down on it because we didn’t get the call in ’02. But had we did. We wouldn’t be going this crazy over it. Suarez got punished, Henry did at the end with all the crap that France went through. And Maradona, well he won his title, but nobody takes him seriously. I know I don’t and never will, and I knew that his Messi-ah + 10 wouldn’t work without an actual defense.

  89. spacemonkey says:

    The sport rewarded Suarez’s behavior by disallowing a sure goal, and awarding a possible goal opportunity to the team he’d committed the infraction on.

    In the end, a goal is a goal. If someone is standing in front of the goal and deliberately blocks a ball – one that is obviously going in – with an illegal body part (i.e. hands for a non-keeper) then the goal should stand anyway.

    There is a huge difference between a ball going into a goal with 100% certainty versus a penalty kick that is still a gamble. For me, that is why this topic is so unpleasant. Diving annoys me a whole lot more, but this one seems so simple I have trouble understanding why everyone is arguing about it in the first place…

  90. Duck says:

    This happened to an intramural team I played on where we were tied at 0 with a few minutes left in the game. There was a crowd in the box after a corner and the ball popped out to me (playing left fullback). The goalkeeper was on the other side of the goal so I took the shot, probably 10-15 yds from the goal with an opposing defender closing to cut off the angle. I am not even sure my shot was on frame, but the defender thought it was, and used his hands to deflect it. He got the red, we made the penalty and the calculated risk swung in our favor.

  91. joe says:

    football may have been a big part of your life but with your melodramatic, boo-hoo outlook i can only imagine that you have missed many many parts of the game during you time with it. what suarez did was fine. ghana didn’t take advantage of that so they’re not in the semifinals

  92. Scoobert says:

    On the goaltending issue: (and I said this in the original gameday thread) making a new goaltending rule for soccer is simply not practical. There is no way for a ref, linesman, or replay official can determine on a case-by-case basis which shots just “look” like they are going to go in, and which shots do not. It’s impossibly arbitrary. I think everyone in the world can agree that shot that Suarez blocked was going in, but what about more nuanced shots? Strange angles? Near the post? etc etc. The point is not microanalysis of the ballistics, but the ref calling something that has not even happened.

    The reason that the goaltending rule works in basketball is that there is a very precise definition (any touch after the ball has reached the top of the arc, and is heading towards the basket), and that definition is usable by refs in very fast, intense play. Not to mention that it is a basic, fundamental part of the game…otherwise tall players would just stand in front of the basket and knock away shots at the last moment.

    On the moral issue…well, it’s not pretty, but tactical fouls are a part of any professional sport. (I do agree that kids’ games really should not tolerate them.) You simply cannot stop it…it’s a competition. I don’t view it as “cheating” any more than any other tactical foul, in which the appropriate penalty is expected and given.

    In short, fouls are a part of the game, and everything worked as it should. Ghana happened to lose.

  93. dave says:

    I agree completely. The handball was so blatantly against the spirit of fair play, even if it was just a reflex or reaction. Of course Ghana had the chance to still make the PK, but no argument can be made that the handball prevented Ghana from winning. The ball was going in… but then two field players tried to stop it with their hands, and one succeeded. He completely changed the result of the game by stopping (with his hands) a ball that was surely going in.

    What Suarez did was within the rules in the sense that he broke them and was penalized accordingly, but that doesn’t make it right or make it feel any less offensive.

    In this case, the benefit turned out to outweigh the punishment, and some may call him a hero, smart, ingenious, etc., but to me it’s a stolen victory. It happened, but it’s not something to celebrate.

  94. Scoobert says:

    Also, “Ingenious” is spelled with an ‘o’.


  95. dave says:

    Exactly – if this was Uruguay vs the US and it happened to the US and the US lost, would we feel differently? Would we be saying how outrageous it is that someone could intentionally prevent a sure game winning goal with his hands?

    Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but I can’t celebrate or condone Suarez’ handball

  96. froboy says:

    I would venture a guess that as many people make penalty kicks as get in the endzone in 3 plays, if that guy makes the PK and doesn’t choke, the conversation doesn’t happen, the correct penalty and punishment were given and Ghana failed to take advantage and win the game, it was a smart and not a dirty play, he did it with full intention to receive the full consequences of his actions, like pulling a guy down in the box on a breakaway, it is no different from that

  97. RB says:

    Exactly. Pretty strange reasoning to use basketball as an example in defense of the Suarez situation, as basketball of course awards the score for interfering with a shot in an illegal manner, whether the action was intentional or not, and whether the shot looked sure to go in or not. Fully agree that that’s how it should be.

    The “let’s not have refs make more objective calls” argument holds no water, really, as there are such special rules where grayer areas area already being decided by refs. (Red card when it’s a goal-scoring opportunity, for example.) And also because the current situation can be ridiculously abused, so such a change could only help.

    I think the problem with this argument in general, though, is that people keep framing it in terms of Suarez’ actions. It should be framed in terms of having discovered a problem with the rules, and the rules should thus be changed to fix that.

    Now, Ives, can you take us back to the 2002 quarterfinal against Germany and take the poll again? Somehow I think the results might just be reversed…

  98. Galaxy G says:

    The only difference between your examples is the fact that Suarez’s handball was caught. If you think he would have stopped the game and told the referee that he handled that ball had the referee not seen it, you’re crazy. He surely would have been thrilled to deceive the referee, stay on the field and be able to play in the next game.

    Cheating has nothing to do with whether or not you’re caught.

  99. RB says:

    Why does it matter if it’s deliberate or not, in terms of the goal? Either way, it would have gone in and been a goal. Award the goal and make the judgment on the player in terms of cards/suspension as need be, if you think it was deliberate and you deem that to be worse than unintentional. But the laws of physics don’t care of it was deliberate or not — either way, a goal was prevented in an illegal manner.

  100. Galaxy G says:

    Yes, I saw the game and the highlights multiple times. Thanks for the recap.

    You’re completely missing my point. I’m going to step aside before you start calling me names because I’ve seen enough comment feeds to know that’s what comes next.

  101. Brian says:

    Completely wrong play. You give up a penalty kick (which should be made) and try to equalize with a man down. Tactically a horrible decision but Uruguay got lucky.

  102. Jason says:

    Saurez was punished according to the Laws of the Game. This situation actually ended up better then the countless times that divers are actually rewarded with a free kick, instead of punished with a caution according to the Laws.

    This is no different than a DB taking down a WR on sure TD after the DB has been beat. That play is never questioned in football.

  103. Jason says:

    Your comment maybe true if we are talking between minute 0 and 90, but in extra time or more importantly at the end of the game, when there will be no more time. It is the ONLY play.

    Only luck because of the number of events that still had to occur for Uruguay to win, not because it was the wrong tactical decision. If he doesn’t block the ball, then after that goal celebration, the referee blows the game over immediately after Uruguay kicks off.

  104. huricano says:

    Ives, I think your questions load this as a moral debate, when really it was an infraction covered by the laws of the game. The rules were set going in, and Ghana got a fair remedy. Its too bad for Gyan that he missed, and also Cardozo. Both played great in the tournament.

  105. zizewitz says:

    FIVE FOULS: Your mistakes:

    – in Basketball, the intentional foul is mainly applied at the last seconds of the game, where any point is equally fundamental as in soccer

    – you want not to leave the decision of “if the ball would enter (LATER!)” to the (so reliable)referees!! In basketball,there is nothing to decide, other to state a already existing fact, that the ball when deflected is ALREADY above the rim!

    – using the hand is not illegal, but foreseen in the rules. You can do it, paying with a penalty kick and a Red card!

    – the rule that the hand=user will loose the next game is not there to give satisfaction to the other team, but to disincentive such action as far as possible

    Sorry: You have all mixed up and the fact that Ghana lost because they were not able to convert penalty kicks, missing a total of 3 in 5 intents, cannot be discussed away. Not to mention that all originated on a (hopefully not worse than that) error of the Line referee, possibly unable to resist the impact of the fanatic spectators

    I hope that you will not suffer too much if URGUAY wins tomorrow!

  106. zizewitz says:

    FIVE FOULS: Your mistakes:

    – in Basketball, the intentional foul is mainly applied at the last seconds of the game, where any point is equally fundamental as in soccer

    – you want not to leave the decision of “if the ball would enter (LATER!)” to the (so reliable)referees!! In basketball,there is nothing to decide, other to state a already existing fact, that the ball when deflected is ALREADY above the rim!

    – using the hand is not illegal, but foreseen in the rules. You can do it, paying with a penalty kick and a Red card!

    – the rule that the hand=user will loose the next game is not there to give satisfaction to the other team, but to disincentive such action as far as possible

    Sorry: You have all mixed up and the fact that Ghana lost because they were not able to convert penalty kicks, missing a total of 3 in 5 intents, cannot be discussed away. Not to mention that all originated on a (hopefully not worse than that) error of the Line referee, possibly unable to resist the impact of the fanatic spectators

    I hope that you will not suffer too much if URGUAY wins tomorrow!

  107. Scott A says:

    I don’t care as long as Suarez stops diving and embellishing

  108. zizewitz says:

    I sgree. But in this case, URUGUAY had nothing to loose, as the match was into the last seconds and if the goal were converted, Uruguay would be out!!

    And it was not luck, but a horrible failure of GHANA!

  109. Sean says:

    I don’t care for the poll question. Would I do it? Of course! Suarez had no other choice and although I’m not claiming clairvoyance, I swear I was thinking about that very situation the night before it happened and I came to the conclusion that that is what I would do, were I put in that situation….You have to — he had to. That being said (that’s for you “Curb” fans), there should be some kind of rule that claims that that play goes against the “spirit” of the game and allows the official to override it. In hockey if the puck is going into an empty net and you throw your stick to block it, the goal still stands….something along those lines would be nice…

  110. Jay says:

    It’s cheating to the highest degree. Taking down an attacking player is denying an OPPORTUNITY, what Suarez did was denying an actual GOAL.

  111. Jay says:

    What Suarez did was one of the most disgusting, despicable things I have ever seen in sport. He cheated. Plain and simple. You cant argue that. He denied a goal by violating the most important rule in the game in the last minute of the quarterfinals in the most important sporting event on earth. If you dont find that absolutely sickening, you are not a true fan of this sport at all.

  112. zizewitz says:

    If you say so. Jay!!! The deepness of your reasoning is really impressive!! Have you already presented your candidacy to substitute Mr. Blatter??

    I hope your stated sickness will not become critical if URUGUAY does defeat Holland and eventually win its 3rd WC!

  113. Uruguay says:

    dude if want to talk football don’t spew crap like ‘cheated’. IT IS IN THE RULES. deal with it. And if you wouldn’t make that save for your own team then you would definitely be a fool

  114. Uruguay says:

    kids are not gonna turn out bad because they save a goal with their hands coach, maybe they’ll turn out bad if they punch other kids in the nose to save a goal…anyway, give kids more credit

  115. Uruguay says:

    FIFA does not need to do that…huh, i guess it IS easy to say things without any argument :)

  116. Uruguay says:

    He didn’t cheat!!! God, people learn you rules!

  117. Uruguay says:

    He didn’t cheat!!! God, people learn you rules!

  118. Uruguay says:

    “otherwise, he’d be grabbing the ball anytime it flew by him on the field of play.”

    That was the dumbest comment ever.

  119. Uruguay says:

    Yea Jay i amlost didn’t understand your arguments!!!! Learn the rules of the game fool.

  120. RB says:

    KenC is spot on. Entire comment. Well done.

  121. RB says:

    “He didn’t cheat!!! God, people learn you rules!”


    OK, good idea: why don’t you start us off with rule #1 of soccer, the main rule that drives the game and gives the entire sport its character, the one obvious king of all rules that anybody in the world who has ever heard of the game knows good and well, the rule that a kid of 5 years old can easily and immediately repeat back to you, the rule that most certainly anyone who has ever gotten anywhere within dreaming distance of world cup action has had drilled into him night and day for the majority of the years he’s spent on the planet (even if young, still!), so much so that to call his understanding of it second nature is nevertheless to underestimate how deeply ingrained it is in him.

    Come on — tell us what that rule is! :-)

  122. RB says:

    See the above response to the same comment. Who’s the fool fool? :-)

  123. Spirit says:

    Obviously, the punishment doled out fit the crime according to the rules, but IMHO the rules need to be changed. In a case like that – where the ball was handed on the line and clearly would have been a goal – it should be awarded a goal and the player should still be given a red card. To me, it is a real shame that Uruguay won the game in that manner. Ghana missing the penalty or not, they deserved to win the game.

    Giving a penalty instead of a goal in such a circumstance, is of course the rules, but it really is ridiculous in a sport where scoring is so difficult. Another reason why there should be goal line technology and this would be another way it could be used (if the rules were changed).

  124. Garra Charrua says:

    There is rich irony here in the Ghanaians crying about how they have been cheated by the Hand of the Devil. Did we all forget how the Ghana players, once they had the lead vs the USA, spent the rest of overtime faking injuries. One Black Star got up, then went down and miraculously popped back up off the strecher as soon as he was off the field. Far from being the noble savages that their PC fans portray them as, the Last Hope of Africa showed that far from being naive, they had exceeded the rest of the world in cynical play. Oh, and the free kick that led to the Hand of the Devil was the result of the umpteenth Ghanaian dive of the World Cup.

  125. Galaxy G says:

    You also miss the point. I acknowledged that Suarez did what he could to put his team in position to win. I acknowledged that it’s in the rules.

    I’m saying there should be CHANGE to the rules to further protect the spirit of the game because I love the game. Giving someone a chance to score a goal after they’ve already done everything they needed to in order to score one in the first place isn’t the best solution to the problem.

  126. Alex says:

    this is bull, this is not the first time its happened, tactics are not going to be changed because of it.

  127. alex says:

    thank you, tactics are not going to change because of this. thats so stupid. this has been going on since the game was invented. its not some revolutionary, innovative play. i mean, please people. he didn’t do anything another player wouldnt have done. not justifying it, in fact i hate that it happened, but to suggest that tactics will change or that this sets a precedent is ridiculous.

  128. Goalscorer24 says:

    His play promotes cheating, and doing whatever you have to to get ahead. There is something to losing honorably. Hopefully karma will have its due and Holland will bump Uruguay out.

  129. fischy says:

    Speaking of basketball…

    In basketball, when the ref calls a goaltending foul, the shot is counted as if it were a made field goal. That’s exactly what should happen in soccer/football when someone does what Suarez did. Awarding a penalty kick just gives the defense a chance they don’t deserve.

  130. JW says:

    So I guess the new strategy at the end of a game free kick will be to put the keeper about 2 or 3 yards in front of his net and the other ten guys behind him on the line and if he misses one of the other guys can just reach up and grab it.

    For those of you that say he did not break a rule, that is exactly what he did. And he got punished for it. In this instant it does seem a little unfair that a penalty kick is given from 12 yard out agains a keeper. It would be nice to see a second chance header from 4 yards out against two player who can not use their hands, but that would be ridiculous. It is what it is. Personally, Ghana can try again in 4 years just like the rest of us who have gotten screwed, 2002 USA vs Germany. 2006 USA vs Ghana (phantom foul for a penalty)
    2010 USA vs Ghana – Ghana players falling all over the place to waste time after they scored the extra time goal.

    As the guy said above me, maybe karma will catch up with Uruguay. I hope the Netherlands wipes the floor with them.

  131. Rich says:

    I have to say I’m disappointed with how many of you voted that this was a smart play.

    The essence of the game was lost on this play. A key play in any match should make a compelling argument why a team did or did not deserve to win. The hand ball did nothing to prove Uruguay deserved to win. Ghana had a well placed header that would have gone in. Should the Ghana player had calculated his aim to include the arm reach of the defenders? The hand ball may have kept Uruguay from certain defeat, but it not demonstrate that Uruguay deserved to win.

    Don’t we as Americans pride ourselves on not diving, handling the ball, and withering on the ground in false agony? Applauding the hand ball goes against the American soccer ideal.

    What will this beautiful game become if we are to encourage, applaud, and celebrate plays like this?

  132. It was the only play he had. He doesn’t make it, and Uruguay go home. He takes the handball, his team is penalized, but they still have a chance.

    He was properly ejected and Ghana had not just one, but two opportunities to dispatch Uruguay after that and couldn’t.

    To me, this is no more cheating than if he tackled a guy from behind on a breakaway with an open net in front of him. If you care about winning, you have to take the foul and roll the dice with the PK chance.

  133. Lydia says:

    My job in defense is to take action to defend the goal. In that split second reaction time, it is no longer a conscious decision so much as it is an automatic response. I don’t feel that he cheated – I believe it was just a reaction.

  134. Lydia says:

    And I don’t say “Smart Play”… I say that I have seen many people just “respond”.

  135. JW says:

    I suppose that if Suarez had used his hands and the ref did not catch it, then it would be easier to use the word “cheat.”

    But he did get caught and was penalized according to the rules of the game.

    Although it does not mean I don’t believe he tarnished the one BS thing that FIFA keeps beating over our heads of “Fair Play.”

  136. Jank says:

    Wow, 85% think its a great play. What a travesty. No matter what happens with a handball that stops a goal on the goaline the cheater is only rewarded. A sure goal is now an opportunity at a goal, which through statistics is about a 60-80% chance.
    When its against the rules to use your hands in the sport and you then use your hands voluntarily then it is cheating. Whether or not you are caught cheating, doesn’t wipe the slate clean. You still cheated!!!
    I guess its Ok to cheat.

    Unfortunately, FIFA has a bunch of antiquated rules and the refs did follow the rules.

    Also, That handball basically cost Ghana football at least 5 million dollars.

    There are alot of rules that FIFA needs to address and change. I’m losing my patience with FIFA.
    At this point, I’d rather watch the CFL right now. Yes, the Canadian Football League.

  137. C-Town says:

    “(see Landon Donovan)”

    Except for the immense pressure of the MLS cup…He pulled a pretty good shank job on that one.

  138. Paul Thomas says:

    Neither answer to the poll is correct. It was obviously the “correct” play in the sense that anyone who had half an hour (or half a minute) to ponder the effect on the team’s win probability would do what Suarez did. Assuming that you don’t put independent moral value on following the rules of the sport, that’s kind of obvious.

    It’s also a play that sets a terrible precedent. As a player, you don’t give a flying hoot about precedent (because even if a loophole gets closed, you’re as likely to benefit from it as be hurt by it in the future). As a FAN, I sure as hell care about precedent. I’ve got no interest in seeing more games decided by this kind of nonsense.

    I also care about the popularity of the sport. Soccer is already viewed by many here as a game with loose, corrupt officiating (which is basically correct) which is routinely and cynically manipulated by players. This is just more grist for the mill.

    (SBI-Talk about a stretch. Exactly who is using this play as a reason to bash soccer? If anything, the play and how it impacted the game was something that fans of any sport could understand. Whether you’re interfering on a sure touchdown, fouling someone on a game-winning breakaway in hoops, or trying to take out the infielder trying to turn the game-winning double play, these plays can all be accused of not being “in the spirit of fair play” but they’re all well within the context of the games.)

  139. DC Josh says:

    If Gyan made that penalty, there would be no controversy. He missed. They lost. Now everyone is upset. Suarez got a red card and Ghana got a penalty kick. What else do you want? There is no controversy.

  140. DC Josh says:

    “Also, That handball basically cost Ghana football at least 5 million dollars.”

    No, Gyan cost Ghana football 5 million dollars.

    I’m not sure how much more you can punish someone for a handball in the box. How about you cut Suarez’s hands off? An ejection and a penalty kick is enough.

  141. DC Josh says:

    Did we get a penalty kick for the Frings handball?

  142. Paul Thomas says:

    Well, the somewhat obvious way to punish someone more is to make the ban lengthier…

  143. Big Ttime CHOKE says:

    Are you saying good players never miss penalties?

    Which penalty was more important?

  144. unternehmen says:

    Gyan is responsible for not burying the ball, to be sure. But it’s understandable—after two hours of football at the highest level of competition, Gyan had to be exhausted.

  145. unternehmen says:

    Thank you for making sense.

  146. jmadsen says:

    ” is an absolutely legal mean
    of defense”

    you didn’t really just say that?

    what would be illegal in your book -having the defender pull out a gun and shoot the forward? Just because it is mentioned in the rules doesn’t mean it’s legal.

    poor choice of words, at best.

  147. jmadsen says:

    So just curious – there is a rule against 12 men on the pitch. It’s only a yellow, btw.

    if a 12th Uruguayan player ran off the bench and tackled him as he was shooting, would that be cheating?

    Why not? It meets every of the criteria those of you defending the handball have listed.

    It was an intentional handball to stop a 100% certain goal, trading for a player and pk. When does it finally become cheating?

  148. JSmiley says:


  149. Strider79 says:

    Galaxy G, I could not agree with you more. Soccer is the beautiful game. I have played it all of my life with passion. We just happen to live in a time in which honor has no value. Ergo, we have Wall Street types throughout our society manipulating the rules for their own immediate gratification. We have seen this same attitude with finance in order to get personal gain. We have BP oil cutting corners in order for short term gain, and the same with coal companies. Nothing has any meaning, except selfish greed, everyone else can get screwed. Perhaps we don’t like to see this in our beautiful game, but the game and how it is played is a reflection of who we as a people are. It is the spirit of rules and laws that give them validity. Suarez, and Thierry before him acted dishonorably. Their selfish actions effected millions of others.
    Now why don’t we put as much thought and energy into fixing our broken society.

  150. JSmiley says:

    When players stretch their conduct to such a ridiculous extreme so as to ruin the game, the rules need to be changed.

    George Mikan did this in basketball. His constant blocking of shots above the rim led to the introduction of goal tending. The four corners “offense” (which wasn’t a offense at all) led to the institution of the the shot clock. Both sets of actions were legal at the time, but they ruined the game, and therefore new rules had to be instituted.

    What Suarez did was penalized by the existing rules of the game, but by doing so ruined the game – even for me, and I was cheering for Uruguay. The penalty for doing this has to be more severe. In basketball there are usually 50-100 field goals in a game so a minor penalty for goal tending is sufficient. Obviously there are not many goals in soccer, so stretching one’s conduct to the point of ruining the game in order to prevent a goal has to be penalized more severely. Suarez did what he did because he knew the penalty wasn’t going to be very severe. The game was all but over, and he knew they wouldn’t have to play 10 v. 11.

    One final point: why is Henry vilified and Suarez is canonized? Both used their hands to unnaturally affect the outcome of the game. Are we vilifying Henry as a sort of surrogate punishment, because he didn’t get caught we as fans have to punish him?

  151. Justin O says:

    Won’t somebody please think of the children!?!?

    There has to be one.

  152. Real Ale says:

    FIFA needs to change the law. An intentional handball on a certain goal should be a goal. Award the goal and red card the player. This is a case of someone breaking the law and changing the outcome of the game. It’s black eye for the game and more fuel for the soccer haters.

  153. Elmer says:

    The play looked dumb at the time, but in the end Uruguay is still playing. Who could have guesses the Ghana would choke on the PK and then in the shoot out? I would have done the same thing, though I do agree with many of the comments above in that Suarez should probably have gotten a bigger suspension. My guess is that he didn’t because there is no real way to prove he did it intentionally and that it wasn’t just a reaction play.

  154. It was a very smart play, but the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. A handball in the six yard box should be a red card and a GOAL. That would deter such actions in the future.

    Also, while I know intent isn’t really a part of an official’s decision, I have a problem with attackers intentionally kicking it up at defenders mid sections in penalty areas hoping it hits off an arm and they get the call (NOT SAYING IT WAS THE CASE WITH SUAREZ, OBVIOUSLY). Defenders should not have to play with their arms behind their back and FIFA should institute and “intent” element to hand balls when it’s a bing bang play in a dangerous area and it’s not clear that a defender could have avoided it.

  155. Of course it was intentional. It was not a gag reflex, a hic up, a patellar tendon reflex, or a blink of an eye. It was not a “reaction” because Suarez would not have done it at midfield. It was a very fast decision, but it was indeed a decision. The mens rea element was in place, and the punishment needs to fit the crime.

  156. Jank says:

    I don’t really care what happened after. It was a goal and should have been a goal.
    FIFA is as antiquated as the dinosaurs when it comes to its rules and enforcement of the game.
    Should have been a goal and a red card!!

    Surely, it is cheating and it was not some split second reaction. It was obvious they were going to do anything to keep the ball out of the goal. 2 players tried to stop the ball with their hands. 1 was successful. I’m surprised the Ref did not give 2 red cards or 1 red card and 1 yellow. Maybe pull a gun out and shoot the ball shooter??
    The rule is you can not use your hands. The player voluntarily used his hands, thus cheating the rules.

  157. CG says:

    Nobody disallowed a goal. That whole notion is a myth. There was no goal. The ball never crossed the line. Was the ball likely going in? Absolutely. Is it horrible that it happened the way it did? Absolutely, but stop making stuff up, please. Nothing was disallowed. There is no cynicism in the laws of the game that is intended to intentionally disadvantage one team over the other.

    Ask a player, any player, ask many players or coaches and give them two options… 1) goal counts, but player x stays on to fight for a tying goal. 2) player x is red carded and team y is awarded a penalty (with, by the way, no restrictions on who can take it). You’ll get a majority in your responses and I’d venture a guess it would be on the side of what happened.

    Here’s the caveat… time of the game absolutely CANNOT be a factor in the question. You don’t make rules based on exceptions. This would be a non-factor if it hadn’t happened in the 120th minute, and that’s the problem with all of this. We’re arguing the exception. I’ve tried to think of all situations when I would be OK with what Suarez did, and I can only think of one. This one. It sucks, yes, and I wish it hadn’t happened, but it did and in that situation, I am OK with it – despite my potential influence on the young, impressionable minds of our youth

    Spirit of the game… there is so much that goes on that is contrary to the so-called “spirit” of the game that you’d have to just scrap the whole thing.

    Cobi Jones’ twilight USMNT games…

    Coach: “Cobi, you know the drill. Get in there, take it into the corner and shield the hell out of it. Gonna hurt, but you’re the man.”

    Cobi: “You can count on me coach. I won’t fake injury, but I’ll do my best to make this the lamest 10 minutes of soccer yet.”

    Where’s the “spirit” in that?

  158. Jank says:

    It is cheating!!

    Only the person that committed the handball on the goaline and his team are rewarded.

    FIFA needs to change or add a rule for handballs on the goal line. Whether it be an automatic goal or a penalty kick without no goalkeeper.

    I think it is completely assinine. FIFAs rules are so antiquated and the fact that alot of money is on the line with these games only makes the argument stronger.

    FIFA needs to do post-match assessments of all fouls, offsides, goals and cards. Then they need to make a report of every game and have some accountability to the soccer federations, coaches, players and their fans!! The sport as run by FIFA loses respect.

  159. Jank says:

    Henry’s Handball is very similar to Luis Fabianos handball earlier in this world cup. Both are ridiculous. FIFA needs to give out post-match yellow cards or red cards but only video replay will fix the issue as well.

  160. I assumed it was a reflex. I argued with my son that it was wrong, that it did not honor the game. He thinks it was a savvy move and what the player had to do, to do his best for his team (country).

    How was it different from Thierry’s handball?

    You might say that Henry avoided just penalization, whereas Suarez got his, but in that instant where action had to be taken, I think the instinct and thought was the same. How can one be smart and the other a disgrace?

  161. CJ in OC says:

    actually– i think there is an intent element to the rule. The rule states that the ball must be “played” with the hands in order to be an offense. Ref’s merely make it a kind of strict liability when it is in the box.

    suarez made the right play. it was a violation of the rules. he was punished for it.

    p.s. i saw a couple of people use the word negligence early on. surely they weren’t talking about this play (obviously flagrant). isn’t an intentional act not negligent by definition?

  162. SaneWC says:

    Hmmmm, don’t think defender taking down an attacker running on goal is quite the same thing. Suarez’ hand definitely, 100%, no doubt, stopped a goal. Taking down an attacker …. who the hec knows how that play would have turned out. If FIFA had half an ounce of brains they would give ref’s the power to forego the penalty kick and just award a goal when ball is handled so blatantly almost literally, in the net.

  163. GetOverIt says:

    What I find most annoying about this is that no one would even care about it if Ghana had made the penalty kick. They’re just complaining because they lost.