In a rematch of one of the tournament’s most tense games, Ghana and Uruguay square off at the World Cup on Friday.
Perhaps, but for a large number of Ghanaians, the 2010 World Cup quarterfinal loss to Uruguay still stings like a poisonous nightmare. Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan striker, intentionally touched the goal line at the end of extra time, preventing Ghana from scoring and preventing them from becoming the first African team to advance to the semifinals.
Suarez was dismissed for handball, but he erupted in joy on the sidelines after Asamoah Gyan’s subsequent penalty shot off the crossbar. In the ensuing shootout, Uruguay prevailed. Even worse, Suarez bragged about it during the 2010 game, saying, “Truth is, it was worth it.” Ghana has the opportunity to make amends now, twelve years later.
Ghana would move to the round of 16 if they defeated Uruguay in their last Group H game, eliminating Uruguay from the competition. Despite the fact that the game in Al Wakrah has been marked as one to watch from the moment the World Cup draw was revealed in April, Addo made an effort to portray it as a “regular game.” He said that he remembers seeing Ghana’s terrible loss on TV in 2010 and remarked, “I’m not really worried about retaliation.”
To be confident of advancing past the group stage for the first time since 2010, Ghana, which narrowly defeated South Korea 3-2 in its previous match, needs to win again in Al Wakrah. Depending on the outcome of South Korea vs. Portugal, a draw can possibly be sufficient.
The lone Ghanaian participant in Qatar who was a member of the 2010 team is captain Andre Ayew. The 35-year-old Suarez, who is likely playing in his final World Cup before wrapping up a career that at one point saw him hailed as one of the best forwards in the world, is one of the few from Uruguay. He won Spanish league crowns, a Champions League trophy, and the Copa America with Uruguay and Barcelona, respectively.
Suarez has established himself as one of the most divisive players in the game and has been penalised three times for biting rivals, including a four-month suspension for striking Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Suarez started Uruguay’s 0-0 tie with South Korea in Qatar but was benched for the team’s 2-0 defeat by Portugal, which dropped them to last place in the group. For Uruguay to stay in the World Cup and for Suarez’s international career to continue with at least one more game, it must now defeat Ghana and hope that South Korea doesn’t defeat Portugal. If both Uruguay and South Korea win, it will come down to goal differential.
Suarez added a little fuel to the fire by saying that the 2010 match against Ghana still has significance.