After a few days of reflection, Luis Suarez acknowledged what millions saw on TV — he did bite an opponent during a game at the World Cup. In addition, he said he’s sorry about it, and promised it will never happen again.
Ending a unified protest in Uruguay by everyone from Suarez to teammates, fans, and even the country’s president that the star striker had done nothing wrong, the Liverpool player on Monday offered an apology to Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.
‘‘I deeply regret what occurred,’’ Suarez said in a statement posted on Twitter. ‘‘I apologize to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family . . . I vow to the public that there will never again be another incident like [this].’’
The Uruguay striker was banned for four months from all football by FIFA for biting the shoulder of Chiellini during the team’s 1-0 win over Italy in their group-stage game in Brazil.
It is the third time Suarez has been banned for biting an opponent, after similar incidents at both Ajax in the Dutch league and Liverpool in the English Premier League.
Chiellini responded on Twitter shortly after Suarez posted his statement, accepting the apology.
‘‘It’s all forgotten,’’ the Italian wrote in English. ‘‘I hope FIFA will reduce your suspension.’’
Neymar fit to play
Neymar will be fit to play in the quarterfinals against Colombia despite thigh and knee injuries sustained against Chile, Brazil’s football confederation said Monday.
The confederation said team doctor Jose Luiz Runco checked Neymar again when the squad returned to its training camp and said the player is not a concern for Friday’s match in Fortaleza.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was worried after Saturday’s match, saying it could take days for the player to get better.
Neymar complained of a left thigh injury after Brazil’s penalty shootout win over Chile, and Runco said the player was also being treated for a hit on his right knee.
Robben won’t change
Arjen Robben said he was sorry for one first-half dive against Mexico. Just don’t expect another apology from the Netherlands forward just for being himself.
Robben said Monday he won’t change his playing style or personality after winning the decisive stoppage-time penalty in the Netherlands’ 2-1 win against Mexico Sunday.
Robben provoked a furor after the match by telling Dutch broadcaster NOS he had dived in a first-half incident, though not for the penalty when he was challenged by Mexico captain Rafa Marquez.
‘‘I don’t change myself, that is my personality. I think it’s good,’’ Robben said Monday, appearing calm, smiling and relaxed at a team news conference.
The Dutch forward simply said he had been ‘‘very honest’’ in the television interview.
It starts with stops
One billion served
Facebook has passed the 1 billion mark in World Cup interactions. The company said Monday the milestone was reached over the weekend. No other single event has generated this much activity on Facebook in the history of the social media site . . . With 10.4 million viewers on Univision, Sunday’s match between Mexico and the Netherlands is the most-watched Spanish-language broadcast in US television history. The Nielsen company said Monday that beat the previous record of 9.4 million for a match between Mexico and Argentina in the 2010 World Cup. The Mexico-Netherlands game was also seen by 6.6 million people on ESPN — meaning a total of 17 million watched. ESPN said it was the most-watched soccer game for an English-language station in the United States that did not involve the US national team . . . Greece’s players want their World Cup bonus money to be used to build a new training site for the national team in the cash-strapped country. Yiannis Andrianos, the government’s general secretary for sports, said Monday that players had written to Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras asking that the money be used to fund a new training site and that he had promised to do ‘‘everything possible’’ to respond to that request . . . FIFA suspended the spokesman of the Brazilian football confederation for one game over a confrontation with Chilean player Mauricio Pinilla on the sidelines during their match Saturday. Rodrigo Paiva was suspended for the quarterfinal Friday between Brazil and Colombia. He will be allowed to work for the team in the media briefing the day before.