By Malena Castaldi
MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) - Uruguayan media have accused other countries of launching a 'manhunt' against striker Luis Suarez after he bit an opponent in the team's 1-0 victory over Italy at the World Cup on Tuesday.
The incident monopolized headlines worldwide though it was initially conspicuously out of the limelight in Uruguay, which instead delighted in the team's passage to the last 16.
But as cries to ban the Liverpool striker grow and FIFA investigates the incident, Uruguayan press has shifted towards lambasting foreign coverage for singling out controversial Suarez.
"'Monster': The British press' new manhunt against Suarez," said leading newspaper El Observador on Wednesday. "English newspapers return to attacking the Uruguayan after the alleged biting of (Giorgio) Chiellini," the article read.
But at home most Uruguayans back their hero tooth and nail - and some are crying foul as a possible ban looms. Suarez's lawyer on Wednesday suggested there was a European campaign to ban the striker.
"Brits fretting about Suarez should first explain how they won the 1966 World Cup with a ball that wasn't a goal," argued an article on the specialized Tenfield soccer web page.
Leading newspaper El Pais published an extensive article detailing defender Chiellini's "bad behavior" in Italian clubs, complete with videos showing alleged foul play.
Many reporters are cautioning that it is unclear whether Suarez deliberately bit Chiellini, and argue that he may have been provoked into doing so.
There are, however, some contrary views at home too.
Alcides Ghiggia, the man who scored the winning goal for Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup against Brazil, told Reuters Suarez deserved a ban.
"I think a ban could be applied here because it's unheard of," Ghiggia said.
"I don't know what this kid thinks and what goes through his head... Whether you're Uruguayan or of an other nationality, you always have to reproach these things on the field, this is not a war."
(Reporting by Malena Castaldi; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Ed Osmond)