Football: Suarez appeal rejected as Argentina prepare for Germans

Uruguay's Luis Suarez attends a news conference before a training session at the Dunas Arena soccer stadium in Natal on June 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Uruguay's Luis Suarez attends a news conference before a training session at the Dunas Arena soccer stadium in Natal on June 23, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Fifa dismissed appeals by Uruguay and Luis Suarez over the striker's four-month ban for biting on Thursday as Rio de Janeiro braced for an Argentine invasion ahead of the World Cup final.

Football's governing body said had rejected appeals by Suarez and Uruguay officials over the severity of his ban.

A Fifa statement said the decision was not binding, meaning Liverpool star Suarez could still appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Suarez was thrown out of the World Cup and banned from all football activity for four months after being found guilty of biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini in a Group D game on June 24.

It was the third time Suarez has been found guilty of biting an opponent in his career.

The 27-year-old initially denied any wrongdoing. He later issued an apology admitting Chiellini had "suffered the physical result of a bite" as a result of Suarez's actions.

If Fifa's ban is upheld, Suarez will not play football again until late October.

A nine-match international ban also means he will miss all or most of Uruguay's campaign in the 2015 Copa America.

Suarez has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona, a deal that seemed to edge closer on Thursday after the Spanish giants completed the sale of Chile's World Cup star Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal.

Suarez has emerged as the biggest villain of the World Cup, which is now looking forward to a dramatic finale on Sunday when Argentina face Germany at the Maracana Stadium for the greatest prize in football.

Host nation Brazil had already been plunged into despair by their team's record 7-1 hammering against Germany in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

The defeat was the worst ever suffered by Brazil and stunned the football-mad nation.

Argentina could now rub salt into raw Brazilian wounds by lifting the World Cup at the Maracana on Sunday.

"The nightmare continues," O Dia newspaper commented glumly after Argentina clinched their place in the final with a penalty shoot-out win over the Netherlands in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

As many as 100,000 Argentine fans are expected to descend on Rio for the final, hoping to see superstar captain Lionel Messi lead his team to victory.

Argentina were back at their Belo Horizonte base on Thursday with manager Alejandro Sabella anxious to refresh his weary team in time for the final.

Sabella believes Germany may have an advantage because of their extra day's rest and the fact that their semi against Brazil was effectively won in the incredible first 29 minutes, when they raced into a 5-0 lead.

"The match is extremely difficult and I repeat the fact they haven't played extra time and we've played two, and played one day after Germany," Sabella said.

Germany's veteran striker Miroslav Klose, who became the World Cup's all-time leading scorer with a goal in the rout of Brazil, said his team had quickly forgotten the momentous win over Brazil.

"We enjoyed the game against Brazil, but we ticked it off after 24 hours," Klose said. "In the next game, we have to again play to the best of our abilities." Germany assistant coach Hansi Flick meanwhile said his team had studied the way the Netherlands managed to successfully contain Messi on Wednesday.

"We saw how the Dutch managed to keep Messi out, but we too have a special plan for him - although I won't give that away," said Flick.