Nick Harper reflects on another day in World Cup Land, when Luis Suarez (him again), Arjen Robben and toffees grabbed the headlines...
Finally, on Day 19, Luis Suarez said sorry for biting the shoulder of an opponent. "I am truly very sorry about the incident," he said in a pre-prepared statement. "I hope that all the people who I offended will grant me forgiveness and I again repeat my apology. I acknowledge that my actions were not acceptable on the football pitch."
Hold up, we've inadvertently mixed up our Suarez apologies there. This was the version he used when apologising for biting a bit out of Branislav Ivanovic in 2013.
Yesterday's new apology read: "Independent from the fallout and the contradicting declarations that have surfaced during these past days, all of which have been without the intention of interfering with the good performance of my national team, the truth is that my colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collusion he suffered with me. I deeply regret what occurred. I apologise to Giorgio Chiellini and the entire football family. I vow to the public that there will never be another incident like this."
It will never happen again, he said. Or at least the people he paid to write that statement and salvage his move to Barcelona said. Never ever again. Which is good enough for El Diario, a very gullible imbecile who'll fall for almost anything he's told, which is presumably what Suarez and his people were hoping for with this guff. Certainly Chiellini fell for it, tweeting back: "It's all forgotten, I hope FIFA reduce your suspension."
The Apology came on the same day Uruguay's president, Jose Mujica, labelled FIFA "a bunch of old bitches" for imposing the ban, and on the same day Kosovan Superleague outfit Hajvalia offered Suarez the chance to join them and stick it to those old bitches at FIFA. "As we are not part of FIFA yet, I think he can play in Kosovo, so we have an offer that we will send to Liverpool," said Hajvalia's director, Xhavit Pacolli. "We offered €30,000 (£24,000) and a salary of €1,500 (£1,200) for each month. This might sound ridiculous to him, but that is all we can do."
So watch this space, readers! Actually, don't watch this space. You'd be wasting your time.
That dastardly Dutchman
For much of the day, the big story had been the stink from Arjen Robben's revelation that he is a steaming great cheat. He admitted he dived in the game against Mexico on Sunday. "I must apologise," he said. "It is something I shouldn’t have done."
But he denied the triple pike with tuck that won Holland the penalty from which they scored the winner was absolutely not a dive. "That one was a penalty," he said, fooling nobody. He certainly didn't fool the Mexican manager, Miguel Herrera. "Robben did three dives and he should have been cautioned," he seethed. "You should caution a guy who is trying to cheat, and then if Robben did it again, he would be sent off."
Herrera went further, suggesting the referee – a Portuguese chap named Pedro Proenca – had favoured the Dutch and should be sent home for being as bent as a nine bob note. "It seems to me that the reason we were eliminated was the man with the whistle," he howled. "The least we can hope is that this gentleman now goes home just like us."
Oh lordy. No one mention going home to the Mexicans. And definitely don't mention it to the Hollywood 'A-list actor' Gael García Bernal (no, us either). It started out as a lighthearted prank by the creatives at KLM, the Dutch airline, who celebrated Holland's win by tweeting a picture of a moustachioed man wearing a sombrero and serape blanket beneath the heading "Adios Amigos!"
Only the Mexican football fan and Hollywood A-list actor Gael García Bernal wasn't amused by such lazy stereotyping that was probably also quite racist. So he banged out “I’m never flying your shitty airline again. F*** you big time” with his angry fists and posted it straight to Twitter! And then he quickly deleted it! OMG! LOL!!
Actually, no LOLz here. Definitely down with this kind of thing.
However those Mexicans get home, and presumably it won't be on a KLM plane, they can expect heroes' welcomes when they finally touch down. Which is more than the sorry South Koreans got yesterday when they finally arrived home.
Arriving at Seoul's main airport, they were pelted with toffee-like sweets called yeot, which sound quite pleasant. Only the phrase "eat yeot!" is a vulgar insult in South Korea, comparable to the F-word in English, and the sweet storm was complemented by a banner bearing the legend 'South Korean soccer is dead!' An over-reaction, you might suggest, but they managed the impossible of being even worse than Fabio Capello's Engl... Russia in Group H, so they actually got off lightly.
Despite all this, there were a few pockets of positivity on Day 19. Such as the news that Greece's late equaliser in Sunday's game was the 145th goal of this magnificent tournament, equalling the total for the whole of the 2010 tournament – and with 12 games still to go. Actually, make that 10 games to go now, but with France's win over plucky Nigeria and Germany's win over gutsy Algeria last night, we're now up to 150. Oof: it's bloody raining goals!
Speaking of Greece just then: more good news. They may have crashed out of this World Cup (and that really was good news), but the last-gasp equaliser they scored supposedly set a new record for a goal scored by a man with the longest surname. Turkey's Kukukandonyadis (15) was usurped by Papastathopoulos (16), who celebrated his place in the record books by getting absolutely shi... hold on... news just in to end this on a Robben-shaped downer...
FIFA have just announced the dastardly Dutchman won't be sanctioned in any way, shape or form for admitting he took that dive, even though he admitted it. Worse still, Robben himself has just announced that he won't be changing his rule-bending ways. "It’s a shame, because yesterday in an interview after the game I was very honest," he explained. "Maybe sometimes you are punished for honesty. But I prefer to be honest."
He prefers to be honest, he said. Honestly.