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Controversy decides two World Cup knockout round berths

The 2014 World Cup has already had a few controversial moments. However, June 24 was the most controversial day of World Cup play by far, as two knockout round berths were determined in questionable fashion. Yet Luis Suarez's teeth truly stole the spotlight, even as Uruguay got through to the next round over Italy, while Greece achieved a Cup breakthrough at the last minute by possibly flopping against the Ivory Coast.

Suarez biting incident doesn't stop Uruguay from advancing
Suarez biting incident doesn't stop Uruguay from advancingPhoto by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Uruguay's biggest star made his biggest impact in the 79'th minute, as Suarez apparently bit the shoulder of Italy's Giorgio Chiellini. Yet the referees didn't catch it or give Suarez a red card, and as a result, Uruguay got a corner kick just two minutes later -- which Diego Godin converted with his own shoulder for the only goal of the match.

Italy was knocked out in the first round for the second straight time since winning the 2006 World Cup, leading to the resignations of coach Cesare Prandelli and Italian federation president Giancarlo Abete. Yet if Suarez had been punished at the moment of the third biting incident of his career, things might have turned out much differently.

Suarez will surely be punished after the fact, as FIFA began investigating the alleged bite. If he is found guilty, he may not only miss the rest of the World Cup, but face a maximum two-year ban for all FIFA competition. But since Uruguay is playing its second round match against Columbia on June 28, time is of the essence.

Uruguay made the semifinals in 2010 and barely got out of the first round this time. Greece, on the other hand, hadn't made it to the knockout stage in its past two World Cup appearances. It looked like the same old story in its do-or-die game with the Ivory Coast on June 24, as the two were tied at 1-1 and the Ivory Coast was on its way to the next round.

Yet it all changed when Georgios Samaras was supposedly tripped in stoppage time, although a case can be made that he flopped. Nevertheless, Samaras converted the penalty kick and sent Greece to its first second round appearance by 2-1, even though the Greeks had only scored twice in its World Cup history beforehand.

Greece's reward is to face surprise Group D winner Costa Rica on June 29, as the winner will make its first World Cup quarterfinal.