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Luis Suarez: A hero in Uruguay, a cheat everywhere else - but if Rooney had done it he'd be a hero too
07/07/2010  by Mirrorfootball
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The look on the face of Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez told its own story.

Twenty four hours before the biggest game of his life, the World Cup semi final, and a group of English journalists were still quizzing him about the red card for Luis Suarez.

Predictably, Tabarez got annoyed, brushed aside the questions and dismissed the angry accusations that Suarez had been made a national hero back in Montevideo.

But are we really kidding ourselves that the same would not happen in England?

England, of course, were nowhere near good enough to reach the semi finals.

But picture the scene. In the final minute of extra time, Miroslav Klose heads goalwards, Wayne Rooney jumps and blocks the ball with his hands. Germany get a penalty and miss. England win the shoot-out.

Are you seriously telling me that Rooney would become a public outcast, a hate figure and every England fan would denounce what he did? No chance.

They are divers when they are foreign players, but rarely do we castigate England players when they take a tumble to win a penalty. Mind you, they rarely got into the opposing penalty box in this World Cup.

But that same scenario happened to Uruguay last Friday night. Ghana had become the heroes of all Africa, they had been brave and played really well and pushed Uruguay all of the way.

But Suarez handled on the line, conceded a penalty and was sent off. Asamoah Gyan then missed from the spot kick and the game went into a shoot-out.

It was incredible drama but, unlike Thierry Henry's handball in France's World Cup play-off with the Republic of Ireland, the incident was punished.

Ghana were awarded a penalty and they missed it. Suarez was sent off. As he was trudging down the tunnel, he turned back when he realised the penalty had been missed. He was also celebrating after the shoot-out.

Then, afterwards, showing no remorse, he said his handball was the new Hand of God, proudly using a line from Diego Maradona.

It's far from tasteful and in no way am I trying to condone cheating. But Suarez handled it, got punished and the referee applied the rules. Ghana missed the penalty. Uruguay were deprived of one half of their strike force for their semi final on Tuesday night.

But the moral high ground is a bit far fetched. Spain defender Joan Capdevila's histrionics to get Portugal's Ricardo Costa sent off was far worse.

Ivory Coast's Kader Keita was shameful for his play acting to get Brazil's Kaka sent off in the Group stages. Both Keita and Capdevila were worse than Suarez as they got away with cheating. Suarez didn't and it's not his fault that Ghana missed the chance to win the game with the penalty.

Suarez should not be held up as some sort of hero even if he sacrificed himself for his team. He cheated. We all enjoyed Ghana's World Cup fairy tale and that made what Suarez did seem even worse.

But we are kidding ourselves if we think that Suarez got any different treatment from what Rooney would get if he did exactly the same thing.

Uruguay have far exceeded expectations and clearly the nation has been enjoying their World Cup success.

It shouldn't happen. Full stop. But fans defend players when they are on their team and have a go at them when they are on the opposing team.

Arsenal fans defended Eduardo after his 'dive' - and it was still a dive in my book, no matter what UEFA say - in the Champions League last season and Tottenham fans were all too happy to call him a cheat.

Tottenham fans would defend Jermain Defoe no matter what if he dived to win a match-winning penalty. Arsenal fans would never let Spurs or Defoe forget it.

It's always the way in football. It's the same with Suarez. A hero in Uruguay. A cheat elsewhere. But if Rooney had done it to get England into the World Cup semi final, then he'd be a hero at home, too.

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