Did Antonio Rudiger BITE Paul Pogba? Germany defender appears to ‘do a Suarez’ in bizarre incident missed by officials… but Roy Keane insists it was ‘more of a nibble’ despite France star yelling in pain – before they hugged it out at full-time
In truly bizarre scenes, Rudiger was caught on camera moving in towards Pogba’s back and then leaning his head forwards.
It then appeared that he tried to sink his teeth through the jersey, leaving his opponent visibly reeling and confused.
Germany defender Antonio Rudiger looked to bite France midfielder Paul Pogba at Euro 2020
Rudiger was caught on camera leaning in to Pogba’s back before then sinking his teeth down
Pogba quickly complained to the referee, but with the incident largely going unnoticed until the half-time break, no action was taken.
No VAR review was held, either, and the game was allowed to continue, leaving any potential repercussions uncertain.
Chelsea centre back Rudiger had been marking Pogba just before half-time in the heavyweight fixture in Munich.
Pogba appealed to the officials after the altercation but no action was taken during the game
The midfielder’s reaction looked to be delayed, but he clearly pointed towards his shoulder blades when making the officials aware of the apparent bite.
UEFA may choose to look into the incident post-match, with severe punishments having been handed out for similar altercations in the past.
ITV’s punditry team of Patrick Vieira, Roy Keane and Ian Wright were left bemused by the alleged bite, but former Manchester United captain Keane labelled it ‘more of a nibble’.
Having re-watched the footage, Vieira said: ‘When you see Pogba’s reaction, it felt like a bite. I don’t really understand what he was trying to do there.’
Pogba was seen to be in pain after the apparent bite, with Rudiger protesting his innocence
Keane then responded in turn by insisting: ‘I think it was more of a nibble than a bite. It’s a silly thing to do.’
Wright believes that the nature of Pogba’s reaction suggested that the bite may not have made contact at all.
‘If he’s bit him there, he’s going to flinch,’ Wright argued. ‘He’s not flinched at all.’
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez notoriously bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup – and was later banned for four months and fined £66,000.
Luis Suarez has been punished for biting three times, including vs Italy at the 2014 World Cup
Uruguay striker Suarez was seen sinking his teeth into the shoulder of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini
Suarez, now of Atletico Madrid, has been punished for the same offence on three separate occasions during his career.
The 34-year-old accepted a seven-match ban during his time at Ajax for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakka in 2010.
He was also hit with a 10-game suspension for chomping down on Chelsea full-back Branislav Ivanovic three years later.
France, meanwhile, went on to take all three points from the clash with Germany in Group F.
Pogba and Rudiger were seen speaking at the full-time whistle before then warmly embracing
Mats Hummels horribly sliced a volley into his own net as France beat fellow giants Germany
Mats Hummels horribly hooked a volley into his own net following a teasing cross for the opener, and Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema saw goals ruled out for offside.
Rudiger admitted before the game that his team may have to carry out the darker arts of the sport in their bid for a result.
‘We have to be a little dirty, not always be nice or try to play nice football,’ Rudiger said. ‘Against players like them, you have to throw down a marker.’
It appeared there was no bad blood between him and Pogba at full-time, with both players seen in conversation briefly before embracing.