Suarez, corruption, shock results and Messi surprise as Blatter gives verdict

Argentina's Lionel Messi appears dejected after the final whistle of the FIFA World Cup Final.
Argentina's Lionel Messi appears dejected after the final whistle of the FIFA World Cup Final.
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Sepp Blatter hopes to see Luis Suarez back in action soon.

Suarez was sent home early in shame after biting Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay’s group stage win over Italy.

Given that it was the third time he had bitten a fellow professional, FIFA’s disciplinary committee banned the Barcelona forward from “all football-related activity” for four months.

There was outcry in Uruguay at the ban, but Blatter said the record punishment was completely out of his hands.

The FIFA president felt sorry to lose Suarez early from the tournament, and he hopes the Uruguay striker will be ready and determined to represent his country again soon.

“As a footballer I feel with him that such a punishment... it hurts, it hurts,” Blatter said at his final press conference in Rio.

“But as FIFA president I have to accept the decisions that are taken by our independent committees.

“I do hope that this player will come back to football because on the pitch what he has shown so far... I have seen his capacity technically and tactically to do what he can do – his smelling of the goal...

“I do hope he will be back. He is now in one of the greatest clubs in the world.”

Prior to the World Cup there were serious fears about security, transport and stadia, but Blatter thinks Brazil 2014 passed the test with flying colours.

The Swiss rejected an invitation to describe the tournament as the best in its 84-year history, but he did give Brazil a glowing report – even though it was delivered in a bizarre fashion.

“We were calculating last night using all the computers and facebooks and all that, and then out of 10 we came 9.25,” Blatter said.

“Brazil has improved since South Africa (whom he rated as nine out of 10).

“Those who get a clear 10 at universities have deals with the professor.”

In terms of excitement, few World Cups can compete with this one.

There were 171 goals – a record only matched by France ‘98 – and there were plenty of shocks too.

Costa Rica’s run to the quarter-finals was a genuine good news story, Colombia also surprised a few by reaching the same stage while Algeria, Switzerland and Mexico also won many admirers.

But the biggest shocks came between the heavyweights of world football.

Germany’s 7-1 annihilation of Brazil will go down as one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history.

But for Blatter, the highlight was Holland’s stunning 5-1 victory over 2010 champions Spain.

“When I saw that match, especially in the second half, then I felt this was going to be something special,” he said.

“What makes this World Cup very special this time is the quality of the football, the intensity of the games.

“In the first phase teams tend to not to want to lose matches.

“They used to absorb and not want to lose but this time it was: ‘boom, boom’. It started with aggressive, offensive football and this has been the case the whole through to the end of competition.

“This World Cup was exceptional and the bar has been set very high for Russia to match the same quality.”

On the whole, Blatter’s final address was an upbeat one. The FIFA president brushed off the fact that he was booed at several grounds around the country.

“If you are in this business you have to live with that,” he said.

But Blatter did snap at one female reporter when it was put to him that FIFA was corrupt.

“Listen lady, when you speak about corruption then you have to present evidence,” he said.

Blatter has admitted he was surprised to see Lionel Messi awarded the prize for the best player at the World Cup.

Messi picked up the prestigious Golden Ball accolade on Sunday night shortly after Argentina had lost the World Cup final to Germany.

Messi scored four goals in the group stages, but, other than a strong first-half showing against Belgium, the Barcelona star failed to live up to his billing in the knockout phase.

“I was myself a little bit surprised when I saw Messi coming up to collect the best player of competition,” said the head of FIFA.

Holland’s Arjen Robben, Colombia striker James Rodriguez and now World Cup winner Thomas Muller were among the front-runners for the award. Blatter believes it was Messi’s magic early on in the tournament, when he scored crucial goals against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria, that led the committee to pick Messi as their star man.

“If you compare the beginning of the tournament and why finally the Argentina team got into the final, they were decisive and I think it was a decision (based on that),” Blatter added.