Uruguay captain Diego Lugano has accused the world’s press of purposely targeting his team in the wake of the Luis Suarez ‘bite’ incident from Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Italy, believing the alleged crime towards defender Giorgio Chiellini to be inconsequential.
The win sent the two-time World Cup winners through to the knockout stages as Group D runners-up to Costa Rica and Lugano argues the media should be focusing on their achievement rather than making up news.
"The truth is this whole reaction made me really mad because yesterday we had a historic victory over one of the biggest names in football," he said. "A game with a lot of physical contact, after a lot of provocations back and forth, which is perfectly normal in football, and now the whole world’s press is talking about a fact that has no importance, including the Brazilian press.
"I’ve watched many World Cups and there have been instances of hitting someone’s nose with an elbow. Do you remember that? This is dangerous. Kicking other players’ knees is also very dangerous. This is violent. Fights between players of the same team, head-to-head impacts, and I never heard anyone making much of it.
"I don’t know if you journalists want to make up news or if you want to take away our team’s competitive advantage" he added. "I can’t understand how something so unimportant, that is of no consequence, can generate this much news.
"Football is passion. It’s contact. I think there should be a little more equilibrium and balance, and it seems to me that everyone wants to bring this problem against one country, one team.
"It seems like something is being done on purpose. As I said before, I don’t know if you’re just looking to make news or take away our advantage because if it’s not like that then you have to deal with the incidents equally and you’re not doing that."
With FIFA having already moved to charge Suarez for the incident, Uruguay await what punishment will be handed out to their star striker, ahead of their last 16 tie with Colombia.
Having previously been banned for seven games for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax, as well as 10 for the same offence towards Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in April last year, the Liverpool star is now facing the prospect of even sterner punishment this time around.
Likely to be ruled out for the rest of the World Cup as a result, the loss of Suarez would be a significant blow to manager Oscar Tabarez’s side, while obviously casting another shadow over the 27-year-old’s controversy-riddled career.