World Cup shame: Infamous suspensions
Luis Suarez joins other players in Hall of Shame
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez received one of the stiffest suspension in World Cup history on Thursday when he was banned for four months from all soccer activity for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini. The ban ends his tournament in Brazil, and includes nine international matches total along with the opening nine games of the English Premier League season. He will also pay a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs ($120,000).
But it’s not the first time a player has made major headlines for the wrong reasons at a World Cup.
Here are four other notable players whose wild antics earned them a place in the World Cup Hall of Shame:
Zinedine Zidane (2006)
Perhaps the most memorable ejection in World Cup history occurred in the 2006 final, a match that pitted France against Italy. In a shocking moment, Zidane headbutted Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the chest during the second half of extra time, and was given a red card for his actions, resulting in a three-match suspension. Italy went on to win the title on penalty kicks while Zidane, who claimed Materazzi provoked him, retired from football following the tournament.
Italy’s Mauro Tassotti (1994)
Tassotti’s only World Cup tournament ended during the quarter-final match against Spain. The Italian defender broke Spaniard Luis Enrique’s nose with an elbow. The play was similar to the Suarez-Chiellini incident in that no foul was called. However, FIFA suspended Tassotti for eight matches after officials reviewed the incident. Italy would go on to a 2-1 win over Spain and advance all the way to the World Cup final against Brazil without Tassotti.
Frank Rijkaard (1990)
In the second-round match against West Germany, the Dutch midfielder was slapped with a red card for spitting in the hair of Rudi Voeller. It was the second time that Rijkaard had spat at Voeller during the game. While both men were tossed from the match after the second incident, Rijkaard’s tournament was over because the Netherlands would eventually lose to West Germany.
Roberto Rojas (1989 qualifier)
Admittedly, this incident took place in a World Cup qualifier but it still deserves a place on this list. What the Chilean goalkeeper did during a match against Brazil would make the WWE proud, but it also stained the sport. In a bizarre attempt to prevent his side from losing to Brazil, Rojas intentionally injured himself after a firework was thrown on the pitch.
Doing his best Ric Flair impersonation, Rojas actually cut himself with a blade that he hid in his glove. Rojas was carried off the field and the match was cancelled. But Rojas’s charade was caught on video and he was suspended for life – though the ban was lifted in 2001. Chile was banned from qualifying for the 1990 and 1994 World Cup tournaments.