Suarez in good company: Maradona in Top 5 biggest World Cup bans

Luis Suarez Uruguay

The Uruguayan is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines following his clash with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini but how does it measure up to these five?

Discipline problems and World Cup glory can often be intertwined – Zinedine Zidane’s career on the world stage was book-ended by two goals in the 1998 final and a sending off some eight years later in the 2006 showpiece game.

However Luis Suarez may have earned himself a special place in the history of the FIFA competition after allegedly biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in what, if true, could be the third instance of the Uruguayan committing such an offence.

With football's governing body set to take action and Suarez facing a potentially lengthy ban, we look at five of the most famous incidents in which a player’s behaviour at a World Cup has cost him dearly.

Samir Shaker Mahmoud– Iraq – Mexico 1986

Once regarded as one of the finest defenders to ever play for the Middle East nation, Mahmoud’s would forever go down in ignominy for his antics at the 1986 World Cup.

Heading into finals, there was a definite sense of optimism surrounding Iraq after progressing through a tricky qualification process but following a narrow loss to Paraguay in their opening game, things fell apart.

Trailing Belgium 2-0 by half-time in the next game, Mahmoud lost his cool early in the second period, spitting at the referee. He received a yellow card for his troubles but worse was to come, with Mahmoud later banned for a year – he never played for Iraq again.

Roberto Rojas – Chile – Italy 1990

Though not a World Cup game, this infamous incident in South American qualification left an indelible mark on Chilean football and deprived the likes of Ivan Zamorano of more World Cup appearances.

Behind 1-0 to Brazil, La Roja knew defeat would end their dreams of appearing at the finals. Suddenly, goalkeeper Roberto Rojas went down clutching his face, having seemingly been hit by a nearby flare.

Chile refused to play on and the match was abandoned with La Roja looking likely to be credited with a 3-0 win. But replays showed that Rojas had not been hit by any flare but instead had used a razor blade to cut himself. He received a lifetime ban while Chile were also excluded from the 1994 finals.

Diego Maradona – Argentina – USA 1994

Ahead of the 1994 finals, many in the Argentinean media were questioning whether Maradona would be fit for another World Cup.

But after signing for Newell’s Old Boys, Maradona made a miraculous recovery and even started the finals with a bang too, scoring a memorable goal against Greece that was eclipsed by the celebration and fallout to follow.

Taken in for a drugs test, he tested positive for ephedrine, despite claims this was caused by a drink called Rip Fuel given to him by a coach. Maradona was sent home by Argentina and banned from football for 15 months – the longest suspension ever handed out.

Marco Tassotti – Italy – USA 1994

Long before Chiellini’s clash with Suarez, another Italian defender was involved in a controversial incident at a World Cup, with AC Milan favourite Tassotti the undoubted villain of the 1994 finals following his infamous clash with Spain’s Luis Enrique.

With the 2010 winners trailing the Azzurri 2-1 going into injury time in their quarter final clash, the Italian let fly with a vicious elbow in the box that broke Enrique’s nose and reportedly led to him losing a pint of blood in the process.

No penalty was awarded but after video analysis Tassotti was handed an eight-game ban by FIFA.

Joao Pinto – Portugal – Japan & South Korea 2002

Touted as dark horses for the World Cup going into the 2002 finals, a Selecao team containing Luis Figo in his pomp started badly with a 3-2 defeat to Team USA in the group phase before regaining their composure with a fine 3-0 victory over Poland.

They only needed to overcome unfancied hosts South Korea in the final group fixture to go through, but got off to a terrible start when Joao Pinto was shown a straight red card for a hefty challenge on 27 minutes.

That wasn’t the end of it though, as Pinto reacted badly to the decision, striking referee Angel Sanchez in a move that earned him a six-month ban from the game.

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