Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice


Suarez: hero or villian

Luis Suarez saved the ball with his hands when the last kick of the game in the Uruguay v Ghana World Cup game in South Africa – the trouble is he’s not the goalkeeper.

The referee pointed to the spot and sent Suarez off. Up stepped Ghanaian Asamoah Gyan who had already scored two penalties in this World Cup, but he missed this one.

Suarez at this point could be seen jumping for joy and pumping the air with his fists. Ghana went on to lose the game on the resulting penalties.

Whether it was an instinctive reaction or not the referee did the only thing he could in awarding a penalty unlike rugby in which a penalty try could have been awarded for the breach of rules.

What would you do if one of your players saved the game with their hands – or didn’t save the game?

Whatever you think it was a dramatic end to a game and one which will live long in the memory for the controversy it caused.

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10 Comments so far
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suarez did everything that any other footballer in the world would do, and expect others to do. the rules have a hole within them that allows this situation as long as you are willing to take your punishment. watching Robben dive and cheat in a decieptful manner is far far worse than what suarez did, Robben tries to con the referee, Suarez broke the rules and took his punishment. It is not a good lesson to cheat, but it is a great lesson to risk your world cup in order for your country to progress. there is no right and wrong in this case, just opinion, yet to watch Robben dive, without any punishment disgusts me and teaches kids to cheat their fellow professionals, cheat referees and cheat the whole nations that his team beats. all this is done through devious coardice, Suarez did and was punished, Robben is a despicable human being.

Comment by john

In my opinion what Suarez did was wrong but it shows great commitment to his teams chances.
The very same thing happened to me last season. Late stage of a semi final game, one of the opponents broke through against our keeper but knocked the ball to wide allowing my player to get back. The player shot and our boy jumped up and punched the ball away.
The referee sent him off and a penalty was awarded. Our keeper did brilliantly to save the penalty and we went on to win on penalties.

Now although i would not coach this in a player or reward him for doing it, it did show that he had great commitment and loyalty to the team and without him we would not have reached the final of the competition. So in all honesty i was so proud of him for what he had done, and the commitment and passion he had shown for the team.

Comment by Gary McAllister

I tried to use this as a teaching moment for my children. I asked them whether they thought this was a good way to win a game? Thankfully their answer was “No.” I certainly want my children’s coaches to teach my children how to play the game but also teach them teamwork and respect for each other and their opponents. I understand that it might be considered a strategy however I think Suarez did not bring honor to his team by blocking the ball in a way which has nothing to do with soccer. In my mind they lost the game at that point. If it was instinctual I can understand but, if he knew what he was doing, it is cheating and not something we need to aspire to do or teach. Thank you.

Comment by roxane

I understand why Suarez did what he did. With so much on the line at that point, I think any player in a similar position would have done the same. There’s no doubt it’s cheating but there are rules to punish cheating and the rules worked in this situation. Suarez got the red, he was removed from the game, and Ghana got the penalty kick. It worked exactly like it was supposed to. The fact that Ghana missed the PK does not make Suarez’s action worse. If Gyan had finished (like he should have), I doubt there would have been this much controversey about it.

Comment by Tony

got to say id have done the same thing and probably would expect someone from the team i support to do the same.
Yeah its going to be called cheating by most people but at the end of the day he committed a foul and was penalised accordingly.
He took a risk and then the penalty was missed.
Id be fuming if it happened against my team though!

Comment by alan

After the handball the other team (Ghana) had a penalty that allowed them to score a goal.

Case closed.

Comment by Mr. Tillier

If they did not miss it…

Comment by Mr. Tillier

Cheating occurs when one breaks the rules/laws and does not suffer the required punishment.

There was no cheating and Suarez is not a “cheat.”
He made a logical decision about whether the cost was more valuable than the benefit.

Had he claimed that he did not commit the offense, that would be cheating!

Comment by Mike

I agree with Johns post previous(as im sure most of the population would agree too). To me cheating implies you dont want to get caught(cheating in a game of poker, cheating by taking performance enhancing drugs, Robben diving to con the officials). What Suarez did was blatent in that his arm was outstretched so he was not trying to hide it. He knew he would be seen, was punished, and Ghana were given another chance to score. Although I really was disappointed for Ghana, wanting them to progress (again, as Im sure most of the population did), Suarez did what any player would do in that situation, and what any fan would want their players to do too. If John Terry had done the same in a quarter final, he would have been hailed for taking one for the team. As in these newsletters states, WAAC is an adults mentality to the game. Psychologically, Suarez was probably harsher on himself after his teams close semi final, probably believing if he was playing he may have made a difference

Comment by Will Thompson

Any player in the world would have done the same thing as Swaras did.

Comment by Deepak




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