World Cup notebook

Notes: Luis Suarez’s punishment expected by late Thursday

Luis Suarez has been accused of biting an Italian player during their game on Tuesday.
Luis Suarez has been accused of biting an Italian player during their game on Tuesday.

Luis Suarez could become just as awkward for soccer’s international organizers to handle as he has been for rival teams at the World Cup in Brazil.

BREAKING NEWS: Luis Suarez suspended four months for biting opponent

The Uruguay forward should find out by late Thursday what punishment he will serve for allegedly biting into the left shoulder of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in a crucial group-stage game.

‘‘We have to resolve it either today or tomorrow,’’ FIFA disciplinary panel member Martin Hong told reporters Wednesday. ‘‘It’s our duty to see justice done. We have to deal with it before the next game.’’


Uruguay plays Saturday against Colombia in the Round of 16 at Maracana Stadium.

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Suarez has hit a raw nerve at a tournament characterized by a high quality of soccer and entertainment.

The consequences of his bite — just before Uruguay scored the clinching goal to eliminate the four-time champion Italians — will now test FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s often-stated commitment to ‘‘fair play, discipline, respect.’’

Blatter, who was in the crowd for the Uruguay-Italy match at Natal, has previously pledged a zero tolerance for the darker side of the game.

Many are questioning where that leaves a player such as Suarez, who has a history of disciplinary problems including separate bans of seven and 10 matches for biting opponents in the Netherlands and England.


The star Liverpool striker also faces losing income and reputation, with one sponsor reconsidering its recent deal with him.

In the early hours of Wednesday, FIFA announced it had opened a disciplinary case against Suarez.

The case will now be managed by Swiss lawyer Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA disciplinary committee. A former international forward himself, Sulser has worked for four years at FIFA, first as head of its ethics court and now the disciplinary committee.

Sulser can choose to judge the obvious offense within the scale of typical red-card incidents: A three-match ban may then be appropriate, banishing Suarez at least until the World Cup final should Uruguay advance through the knockout rounds.

There’s scope for a more severe sanction: Under the guidelines a ban of up to 24 international matches could be applied.

Japan’s coach quits


Alberto Zaccheroni quit as Japan coach in the wake of the Asian champion’s disappointing group-stage exit, saying the team needed a fresh influence.

Zaccheroni, who was appointed in 2010 on a four-year contract, announced the decision on Wednesday after earlier saying he’d wait until he returned to Japan to consider his future with the team.

Japan placed last in Group C with one point — from a 0-0 draw with 10-man Greece. The Japanese lost, 2-1, after leading against the Ivory Coast in the group opener and then were routed, 4-1, in their last game against Colombia on Tuesday.

Iran’s Queiroz out

Carlos Queiroz said he is quitting as Iran coach after his team’s group-stage exit. Bosnia-Herzegovina ended Iran’s hopes of advancing to the knockout rounds with a 3-1 victory in Group F. Queiroz announced his decision shortly after the defeat, saying he was leaving because he failed to agree to financial terms with Iranian football authorities.

‘‘I showed my commitment and credibility, but I did not see any commitment to extend the contract,’’ Queiroz said. The 61-year-old Portuguese manager and former goalkeeper took over in 2011 and led the team through qualifying.

Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez has also quit his job following a 3-0 loss to Switzerland at the World Cup. Wednesday’s result left Honduras winless in its three matches and eliminated from the tournament. Suarez said his contract ended when the team was knocked out of the World Cup, and he has decided against trying to stay on in the post.

‘‘It’s not a resignation. It’s not an issue with the contract,’’ said Suarez. “I unilaterally take the decision of not continuing.’’

Honduras played in Group E in Brazil but lost to Switzerland, Ecuador, and France, finishing last.

Bento will stay on

Paulo Bento intends to stay on as Portugal coach even if the team fails to qualify from its group, saying his tenure will be judged on results at the 2016 European Championship.

Portugal, the world’s No. 4-ranked team, has just one point from its first two Group G games and is unlikely to reach the knockout stage even if it beats Ghana in Brasilia Thursday.

‘‘In April there was an agreement with the association that wasn’t about the results at the World Cup but our objectives for 2016,’’ Bento said through a translator. ‘‘I'm not going to resign from my job as coach, it’s not my intention or the intention of the federation.’’

Under Bento, Portugal reached the semifinals of Euro 2012 — losing to Spain on penalties — but struggled in qualification for the World Cup and only came through a playoff against Sweden thanks to the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo, the world player of the year.

In Brazil, the Portuguese have lost, 4-0, to Germany and drawn, 2-2, with the United States, with Silvestre Varela’s injury-time goal keeping them with a slim chance of progression.

Ghana cashing in?

As much as $3 million in cash sent by Ghana’s president was expected to arrive in Brazil on a plane in a bid to appease members of the country’s World Cup squad who are unhappy at being denied bonus payments.

President John Dramani Mahama has been forced to personally intervene in the latest bonus row to hit African football, which has seriously disrupted Ghana’s preparations for its decisive Group G game against Portugal.

Ghana midfielder Christian Atsu dismissed fears the team would boycott its final group game in Brasilia.

‘‘We are not going to say we are not going to play because of the money,’’ Atsu said. ‘‘We love our nation and we are going to play for our nation.’’

Asked what the players will do with the appearance-fee cash — reportedly between $75,000 and $100,000 each — if they receive it as planned, Atsu said: ‘‘I think we will keep it in our bags and we'll just lock them. And we will transfer the money to our accounts.’’