- POSTED: 26 Jun 2014 19:23
- UPDATED: 26 Jun 2014 21:06
FIFA officials are expected to come to a decision over Luis Suarez's alleged bite incident on Thursday as Germany tackle the United States under the scrutiny of conspiracy theorists.
RIO DE JANEIRO: FIFA officials are expected to come to a decision over Luis Suarez's alleged bite incident on Thursday as Germany tackle the United States under the scrutiny of conspiracy theorists.
A FIFA disciplinary panel gathered evidence on Wednesday on Suarez, 27, after the Uruguay striker was accused of biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during a match on Tuesday.
The panel are expected on Thursday to reach a decision on whether or not Suarez should face disciplinary action and possibly being thrown out of the World Cup.
Liverpool forward Suarez's countrymen have been rallying around their star player, who they are hoping will be available for Saturday's last 16 clash against Colombia at Rio Janeiro's Maracana stadium.
"I did not see him bite anyone," Uruguay president Jose Mujica told reporters. "But they give each other so many kicks and blows and normally they put up with it."
Uruguay Football Association chief Wilmar Valdez presented evidence on Suarez's behalf to the panel in Rio.
"We believe that there is not sufficient evidence to truly sanction Luis," Valdez told Uruguay's Channel 10 television.
"It has to be clear and on the video that FIFA gave us we think that it is not really clear."
Video of the incident from several angles did not conclusively show Suarez had bitten Chiellini but there was one angle that appeared to do so.
There is also photographic evidence of Chiellini's bite mark that he tried to show the referee immediately following the incident.
Chiellini himself told Italian television: "He bit me, it's clear, I still have the mark."
FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said all evidence would be studied to reach a decision on Suarez's case "as early as possible."
"The disciplinary committee can take all elements into account as it deems necessary," she said.
That could include looking at Suarez's previous history. He has already twice before served bans for biting an opponent during a match.
Fischer did not speculate on what punishment Suarez could face, nor whether any ban would extend beyond international football to include the club game as well.
The controversy and imminent decision was taken some of the attention off another unsavoury episode that happened 32 years ago.
Back then, the former West Germany and Austria colluded to play out a mutually beneficial result, a 1-0 win for the Germans, at the World Cup in Spain that saw both sides progress from the group stages at Algeria's expense.
On Thursday, Germany play the US in their final Group G encounter in Recife at 1600GMT knowing that a draw would guarantee both teams a place in the last 16.
At the same time, Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal will be playing Ghana in Brasilia with both countries needing a victory to try to leapfrog either Germany or USA.
The well-documented friendship between Germany coach Joachim Loew and his US counterpart Jurgen Klinsmann, who preceded Loew in the Mannschaft hot-seat, when the latter was his assistant, has served only to heighten speculation that a deal could be arranged.
But both coaches have dismissed any such notion.
"That doesn't mean anything for my team," said Loew who has been repeatedly questioned about the 'Shame of Gijon'.
Both coaches insist they are going for a win to top the group.
"At the end of the day it is a beautiful game of football and I hope everyone will enjoy it," said Klinsmann, who has five German born players in his squad.
Group H will also be decided with Belgium playing South Korea in Curitiba at 2000 GMT, needing just one point to make sure of top spot.
Unless the Koreans score an upset, Algeria need just a draw from their game against Russia in Sao Paulo at the same time to reach the last 16 for the first time.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots is resting captain Vincent Kompany and defender Thomas Vermaelen because of minor injuries.
South Korea and Russia both need to win to have any chance of going through as runners-up behind Belgium, while if they are both victorious, who goes through would come down to goal difference, where the Russians currently have the edge.