One of probably the most spiteful rivalries in trendy World Cup historical past will likely be renewed on Saturday morning as Luis Suarez’ Uruguay faces Ghana, 12 years on from ‘the Hand of God 2’.
The African aspect is well-positioned to make the knockout stage in Qatar, possible simply needing a draw towards the South Americans – although a win would guarantee South Korea can not cross them in Group H by beating Portugal.
It could be candy revenge after the South Africa 2010 quarter-final incident that robbed Ghana of a fairytale spot within the final 4 on the first World Cup performed on their continent.
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On that fateful night time, Uruguay ahead Suarez blocked what would have been an extra-time winner for Ghana along with his hand.
Suarez was despatched off however Asamoah Gyan missed the ensuing penalty, Suarez celebrated wildly from the sideline and Uruguay went on to succeed in the semi-finals by profitable 4-2 within the penalty shootout.
In this file photograph taken on July 2, 2010 Uruguay’s striker Luis Suarez (L) stops the ball with the hand resulting in a pink card and a penalty for Ghana through the extra-time of their 2010 World Cup quarter-final match. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP)Source: AFP
Current Ghana captain Andre Ayew is the one surviving member from that day and whereas he admits folks again residence could be targeted on revenge, he’s eager to give attention to qualification out of Group H.
“Everyone felt dangerous however for me I simply need to get to the following stage,” he instructed reporters in Qatar after an exhilarating 3-2 win over South Korea earlier this week.
“Revenge or not, we’d go together with the identical willpower and want to win as a result of we need to get to the following stage.
“I’m not wanting again, I don’t need to give attention to the previous.”
Thomas Partey, Ghana’s Arsenal midfielder, had an analogous message. He was taking part in under-12s soccer on the time in Ghana and remembers how “all people was unhappy” following the painful Uruguay loss.
“But now we now have one other likelihood and we now have to work tougher to qualify,” he stated. “We must overlook what occurred, it is a new time.”
Referee Olegario Benquerenqua of Portugal, middle again, exhibits the pink card to Uruguay’s Luis Suarez after his blatant handball. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)Source: AP
Ghana coach Otto Addo performed down the importance of the rematch after what occurred in 2010, saying it was a very long time in the past.
“I’m a robust believer should you don’t search an excessive amount of for revenge for these type of issues, generally you get much more blessings,” he stated.
However former Ghana midfielder Ibrahim Ayew, capable of converse extra freely given his lack of ties to the present aspect, believes his complete continent is backing his nation.
“I believed we had received,” Ayew instructed The Athletic.
“I used to be a substitute, warming up behind that purpose, and I ran onto the pitch to rejoice as a result of I used to be certain the ball had crossed the road. I believed we had achieved it, the primary African crew ever to succeed in the semi-final of the World Cup.”
He continued: “We weren’t simply taking part in for Ghana. We have been taking part in for Africa.
“We may really feel the entire of Africa behind us. We may really feel it on our shoulders.
“We all believed in Asamoah and he believed in himself. Stephen Appiah handed him the ball and stated, ‘Go and rating. Make the entire of Africa proud.’”
Yet the miss and Suarez’ mad celebrations, exhibiting a complete lack of regret, solely made the state of affairs worse – and created a scar that has by no means healed.
Uruguay’s Luis Suarez is carried shoulders excessive by his teammate Sebastian Eguren after the aspect received on penalties. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)Source: AP
“The complete of Ghana hates him and the entire of Africa hates him,” Ayew stated.
“Oh sure,” he added with a slight chuckle. “We hate him. And we would like revenge.”
The match-up has been awaited for months, ever for the reason that two nations have been drawn collectively in Group H.
“We consider it will likely be revenge time,” Ghana Football Association president Kurt Okraku stated on the time. “It is vital that all of us set the report straight.”
Even president Nana Akufo-Addo chipped in: “We’ve needed to watch for 12 years to get revenge towards Uruguay — and we guarantee them that this time the hand of Suarez won’t save them towards the Black Stars of Ghana. They are taking place!”
Meanwhile Suarez and Uruguay have their very own points to take care of, going through the ignominy of crashing out of the World Cup with a whimper – however it’s coach Diego Alonso who’s taking the flak again residence.
With Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi absorbing the limelight at what’s prone to be their final World Cup, Uruguay’s two veterans have flown beneath the radar.
Suarez and Cavani, each 35, have already stated this will likely be their final World Cup and after a colorless 0-0 draw with South Korea and a 2-0 defeat to Portugal, Saturday’s last Group H conflict with Ghana might be their last act on the most important stage.
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While not talked about in the identical breath as Ronaldo and Messi, Suarez and Cavani are nonetheless two of the best forwards of their technology.
They occupy the highest two spots on Uruguay’s all-time report scorers’ listing, with Suarez as primary, and have been a part of the groups that reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2010 earlier than profitable the Copa America the next yr.
But whereas Messi scored in Argentina’s 2-0 victory over Mexico in Qatar and Ronaldo made historical past as the primary participant to attain in 5 World Cups, the Uruguayan pair have been an enormous disappointment.
Suarez began towards South Korea and barely had a kick earlier than he was changed by Cavani within the second half.
The roles have been reversed towards Portugal, and though they each had a single likelihood they every didn’t get it heading in the right direction.
But in Uruguay the main target has not been on the veteran strikers. Instead it’s Alonso who has been subjected to vital scrutiny.
Following the Portugal defeat he was requested about his perceived unfavorable ways in Qatar, being unfavourably in comparison with his earlier extra expansive fashion that helped Uruguay win their last 4 qualifiers to ebook their ticket to Doha.
“We haven’t stopped doing it (attacking) however the opposition are additionally taking part in,” stated Alonso.
“That doesn’t imply that we don’t need to attempt. Sometimes your opponents are additionally competing, taking part in properly and stopping you from entering into the positions you need.”
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In their first mach in Qatar, towards the Koreans, Uruguay didn’t muster a single shot heading in the right direction, though they did hit the woodwork twice.
Against Portugal, they struggled to pay money for the ball within the first half, though they hit the put up by means of Maxi Gomez after the break.
“Uruguay didn’t lose due to Diego Alonso’s 3-5-2 formation,” stated sports activities newspaper Ovacion. “But it will have been very tough to win taking part in like this.”
There are additionally rumours of discord inside the ranks after Cavani gave a terse and suggestive reply to a query about what was occurring with Uruguay.
“You must ask Alonso this,” he stated. “He will have the ability to inform you extra concerning the ways.”
Cavani appeared unimpressed when his quantity got here up towards Portugal, with Uruguay a purpose down and needing to chase the sport.
Some commentators have acknowledged the constraints of the 2 35-year-olds however nonetheless usually are not pointing the finger at them for Uruguay’s failures.
“The sharp shooter (Suarez) shouldn’t be the identical as earlier than. The years are passing, and he’s not that participant that chased each ball and all the time received challenges with defenders,” stated Uruguayan newspaper El Observador after the crew’s first match.
The fault, stated the newspaper, lay with these meant to create the possibilities.
“In the second half Cavani got here on, but it surely was extra of the identical, as a result of with out help he didn’t have any probabilities.”
Unless both can roll again the years towards Ghana, the careers of two of Uruguay’s best gamers may finish in anti-climax.
But, for Ghana, it will be a candy farewell – and pleasure at returning to the spherical of 16.
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