Underscoring a power shift away from Europe, Uruguay fought — and apparently even bit — its way to a 1-0 victory over Italy Tuesday to move to the World Cup's next round with Costa Rica, which sent England home without a single victory after a goalless draw.
South America's strength was further highlighted when Colombia capped its perfect record in Group C with a 4-1 win over Japan. Europe did get one team through when Greece converted an injury time penalty for a 2-1 victory over Ivory Coast which eliminated the African team.
The evening excitement though could hardly match yet another controversy to haunt Uruguay striker Luis Suarez. Around 80 minutes in, Suarez and Giorgio Chiellini tangled, with replays showing Suarez seemingly biting the shoulder of the Italian defender. It would make Suarez, amazingly, a triple carnivorous offender on the pitch in four years.
"It was absolutely clear. There's even a mark," Chiellini said.
The referee didn't see a bite, and no foul was called. Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez only had eyes on the result. "For me, and for all the people in Uruguay, we had more important things," he said.
About a minute later, the decisive goal was scored on a powerful header from captain Diego Godin. Italy was down to 10 men since the 59th minute, when Claudio Marchisio received a red card for putting his boot into Egidio Arevalo's knee.
It was the second straight time that Italy, a four-time champion, went out in the first round.
"When you're coming off two defeats without even scoring a goal, we clearly also have to take our share of that blame," said goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who played on his fifth World Cup squad. After the game, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli immediately resigned.