Álvaro Pereira came to and kept playing. That's a bad call from FIFA.
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
England created a frantic chance in the 61st minute of yesterday's World Cup loss to Uruguay as the Three Lions tried to claw their way back from a one-nil deficit. When the play ended without a goal and the players retreated down the field, one remained behind, motionless on the ground. ESPN broadcaster Ian Darke immediately called midfielder Álvaro Pereira out for wasting time, but when the camera zoomed in, Peirera didn’t flinch or roll around in the grass. He was unconscious.
A replay showed tiny English forward Raheem Sterling inadvertently kneeing Pereira in the head and a slo-mo replay showed Peirera’s head whipping back like a street sign in a hurricane. When live coverage resume, Pereira was giving the Urguayan doctor the Mutombo finger as he called for sub. Number 6 was back in the game a moment later and Twitter was thick with hot takes like “How tough!” and “How stupid!” We’re firmly on Team Stupid, but Peirera is not to blame. The team doctor, the Uruguayan coach, and FIFA let a player return to the pitch even though it could have killed him.
Álvaro Pereira didn’t die, but his quotes after the game reveal just how serious this situation was. “After the hit, I only recall that I was unconscious for an instant,” he said. “It was like the lights went out a little bit.” He also apologized for pushing the doctor away and said, “What really matters is that everything is OK. Nothing happened. It was just a scare.”
If there is one upside to what was a nasty hit, maybe American soccer haters will finally stop talking about these dudes being soft.