Soccer World Cup

Let's hope Luis Suárez is well fed before his Soccer World Cup match

Bareng-Batho Kortjaas recalls some of the colourful incidents that have made the Soccer World Cup such a spectacle

10 June 2018 - 00:00 By BARENG-BATHO KORTJAAS
Luis Suárez famously bit one of his opponents during a Uruguay-Italy clash at the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil.
Luis Suárez famously bit one of his opponents during a Uruguay-Italy clash at the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil.
Image: Gallo/Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the most colourful and controversial character of the modern football era, will be in Russia for the Soccer World Cup. But he won't be in the mellow yellow shirt of his country, Sweden. Coach Janne Andersson must be heaving a sigh of relief that he doesn't have to deal with Zlatan's ego which, at the last weigh-in, was equal to the size of Sweden itself.

After Sweden's failure to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Zlatan was asked about his thoughts on the competition.

"No Zlatan, no World Cup," was his terse retort.

The 36-year-old Swede called time on his international career after the 2016 European Championship, making Andersson's job of announcing the absence of the troublesome Viking easier.

Holland won't be there either. Viewers will be denied Dutch delight in its orange glory. But most importantly they'll be spared the sight of spit being deposited on opponents as Frank Rijkaard planted saliva on Rudi Voller's curly hair during the 1990 World Cup. Frankly speaking, it was disgusting.

One certainly hopes that Uruguay will make sure Luis Suárez is well fed before trotting him onto the pitch.

Suárez's hunger pangs attack him at inopportune moments. "Hannibal's" appetite knows no limits as Giorgio Chiellini, the Italian gladiator, rudely found out during the World Cup in 2014.

During a Uruguay-Italy clash in Natal, Brazil, in 2014, Suárez sank his molars and inserted his incisors into the succulent shoulder of Chiellini. The Mike Tyson of football, no?

Have you seen Zizou's forehead? It is armed and dangerous, my friend

Coaches tell their players to use their heads. But Raymond Domenech, former manager of the French national team, never thought one of his star players would take it as literally as Zinedine Zidane did when he head-butted Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup.

Sure Materazzi sprawled himself all over the ground as though he was hit by a bullet from a .38 Smith & Wesson Special. But then again, have you seen Zizou's forehead? It is armed and dangerous, my friend.

And so, with these colourful incidents in mind, we look forward to the spectacle of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, commencing in a few days' time.

It's a pity that the ANC in its twisted wisdom recalled Jacob of Nkandla from Luthuli House and Mahlamba Ndlopfu. With friends like Vladimir Putin, JZ could have organised Bafana Bafana's participation through Brics. Cyril and his new dawn! Sigh. Let the games begin.


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