MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Luis Suarez of Uruguay gives instructions during the Men's Football first round Group A Match of the London 2012 Olympic Games between UAE and Uruguay, at Old Trafford on July 26, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Craig Bellamy's Great Britain side got past the favored Uruguyans 1-0 in Wales on Wednesday, sending Luis Suarez and Sebastian Coates out of a competition that many expected them to win. It was an underwhelming performance on the whole from Uruguay--Suarez and Coates weren't awful, with the latter giving a better account of himself than the former--but given where expectations stood prior to the start of the competition, an exit after the group stage was more than a little surprising.
What doesn't come as a shock, however, is the noise that's been made around the reception for Suarez across the different venues in which Uruguay's played. Last night was no different, at least in that the player received continued abuse for some reason that's better attributed to drooling groupthink rather than actual frontal lobe activity. I mean, when people are booing and stuff, it's awfully hard to not do that.
When the boos extended to a national anthem, though, it's probably time to re-evaluate what's worth booing, even if the outrage at said booing can be twisted to fit nicely within a pre-constructed narrative about a foreign player that hasn't really gone out of his way to ingratiate himself to the British press.
The jeering interrupted the playing of the Uruguay national anthem after Suárez was shown on the big screen and the striker hit out after a 1-0 defeat that meant his team were eliminated. "I think they jeer me and they boo me because they must be scared of facing a player like me.
"They fear me, but that doesn't affect me. I'm just hurt because we lost and we are going home. I can take the abuse ... but I think it was a total lack of respect from the crowd to boo when we were trying to sing our national anthem. I think those things should not happen. I think it was a total lack of respect from the crowd to boo when we were trying to sing our national anthem. I think those things should not happen."
So yeah, that'll show Luis Suarez for trying to be upset at people getting in the way of a national anthem, because everybody knows that people in Great Britain have been the picture of calm when it comes to issues surrounding a national anthem. Or they haven't, and they've mostly directed their anger at each other for not singing a national anthem that doesn't really apply to, you know, the different nations involved or something, but whatever, LUIS SUAREZ AND STUFF!
England--and Great Britain or whatever--are probably never going to warm up to Luis Suarez, and Liverpool supporters will probably chuckle at that fact and feel a strange sense of pride. And part of the dislike will be justified, given his tendency for theatrics and general zest for making himself a nuisance, just as part of the pride will be justified in that he's our guy.
I'd guess the histrionics are annoying, and that he said the opposition is "scared of facing a player like (him)" isn't too endearing. But it's hard to disagree with his assessment that showing a lack of respect for a country's national anthem--regardless of whether or not it was to target an individual, as if that makes it okay--is out of line, especially when those condemning him have managed their own fits about who is or isn't singing an anthem of their own, nevermind if it comes in the midst of booing and hissing.