RIO DE JANEIRO — Luis Suarez might be watching Saturday’s knockout round game against Colombia from his home in Montevideo, Uruguay, but his presence is still with the national team.
A photo surfaced on Twitter of Suarez’s jersey hanging in the Uruguay locker room at Maracana Stadium in Rio.
Solidarity. Uruguay still have Suarez's jersey up in the locker room for today's game. Let the siege mentality begin. pic.twitter.com/xl9X8jbdHF— Cristian Nyari (@Cnyari) June 28, 2014
Players even took pictures with the jersey prior to the contest and tweeted out sentimental messages.
Suarez will miss nine international games and was given a four-month ban from all soccer competitions as discipline for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during a 1-0 Uruguay win last Tuesday.
The nine-game suspension was the longest FIFA has ever handed out for an on-field incident.
[Related video: Suarez bite more likely than a shark bite?]
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez blamed media sensationalism for the suspension, which he dubbed unfair. Suarez maintained the bite was unintentional, saying he slipped and his teeth hit Chiellini’s shoulder. He also tweeted to his fans, many of whom gave him a hero's welcome when he returned Uruguay, thanking them for their support.
Hola a todos, escribo este mensaje para dar las gracias a todas las muestras de apoyo y cariño que estoy (cont) http://t.co/2uo0LXaqs2— Luis Suarez (@luis16suarez) June 28, 2014
Translation: Hello everyone, I'm writing this to give give thanks for all the support and care I have received. My family and I appreciate it very much. Thank you for staying by my side and I want everyone to continue celebrating our national team in their game against Colombia.
Uruguay informed FIFA on Friday that it intended to appeal the decision and it has seven days to do so.
In the meantime, Uruguay is heading into Saturday’s game without it’s leading scorer, but hoping even in his absence, he can help lead them to victory.
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