Uruguay overcome Ghana but are eliminated in a late twist.

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By Creative Media News

There is no victor in vengeance missions. Sentiment demanded that Ghana rectify their 2010 World Cup quarterfinal loss to Uruguay and atone for Luis Suárez’s last-second handball on the goal line. However, Uruguay and Suárez in particular have no patience for such idealistic conceptions of redemption.

Ghana was eliminated for a second time after missing a penalty, but they had some consolation in the fact that South Korea, not Uruguay, advanced to the round of 16 with Portugal despite Suárez setting up two goals.

Uruguay overcome ghana but are eliminated in a late twist.
Uruguay overcome ghana but are eliminated in a late twist.

Uruguay reacted poorly. As Ghanaians slumped in resigned exhaustion on the field, Uruguay’s players surrounded the eccentric German referee Daniel Siebert at the final whistle, enraged they had not been awarded at least one of two egregious second-half penalty claims.

The Ghanaian fans, by then resigned to their departure, appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Suárez wept on the bench while José Mara Giménez lashed out at Siebert.

World cup on goals scored
Uruguay overcome ghana but are eliminated in a late twist.

This game was haunted by the events that transpired at Soccer City twelve years earlier, and notably by that one extra-time minute. Stephen Appiah in the foreground having had the initial blocked attempt (which was probably offside, although nobody talks about that).

John Mensah and the goalkeeper Fernando Muslera falling together with Andrés Scotti, Dominic Adiyiah stretching having headed the loose ball goalwards, Jorge Fucile with back arched and left fist thrust having missed his attempt to handle, and Jorge Fucile with back arched.

And right fist thrust having missed his attempt to handle, and Jorge F It is the Pisgah of African football, the moment when the continent viewed the promised land of a World Cup semi-final but was refused entry.

Uruguay overcome ghana but are eliminated in a late twist.
Uruguay overcome ghana but are eliminated in a late twist.

This week, billboards in Accra featured the incident with the tagline “REVENGE!: Let’s support the Black Stars.” The pre-game news conference made it very evident that Ghanaians still feel the anguish of that moment.

Suárez appeared alone and was unaffected by a Ghanaian journalist’s assertion that many in his country viewed him as “the devil himself” (adding “el diablo” to avoid confusion) and wanted to “retire” him.

He didn’t regret it, he said. He had been punished. The red card he received caused him to miss the semifinal. Asamoah Gyan did not intentionally miss the penalty.

Was this some elaborate hoax? Suárez had only played 81 minutes in the group stage and had been quite disappointing, with only one shot on goal (off target). If this was a massive mental game, Uruguay took it to the extreme by choosing Suárez, as captain.

As he walked up to take a penalty, did André Ayew, the only Ghana player at Al Janoub to have featured in the 2010 quarterfinal, have this in mind?

For, there was a great deal of discussion about the penalty. Why wouldn’t there be? Sergio Rochet, the Uruguay goalie, certainly tripped Mohammed Kudus but initially, André Ayew was called offside.

When VAR determined that Mathias Olivera’s heel had played him fractionally offside, the penalty was awarded automatically. However, his kick was weak and easily saved.

Then, shortly before the hour, Daniel Amartey defeated Darwin Nez in a challenge. Siebert didn’t grant it, was ordered to review the screen, and, unusually, decided not to overrule the decision, signifying he had seen a tiny touch on the ball. It was a crucial decision for Uruguay’s goal differential; had it been awarded and scored, they would have advanced.

Edinson Cavani had another decent shout in stoppage time by which point news had come through that South Korea had upset Portugal and the game had become a frenzied slug-fest, all shape gone, simply one onslaught after another.

The opportunity existed for Ghana, who enjoyed a two-point advantage before kickoff, but it was missed. What followed had an air of inevitability to it. Few teams are as adept as Uruguay at reading the emotional pulse of a game.

As Ghana faltered, Uruguay advanced. Lawrence Ati-Zigi partially blocked Suárez’s shot after Mohammed Salisu cleared Nez’s effort off the goal line. Giorgian de Arrascaeta nodded the ball over the goal line from close range, even though the ball was likely spinning anyhow.

Six minutes later, he scored his second goal by volleying a Suárez pass home with precision. He may be 35, the belly starting to show beneath the shirt but, despite much being taken, much abides: there is magic yet in his intellect and his touch, perhaps particularly when opposition fans get the blood moving.

And the rage, which had been so oddly absent against South Korea, returned. Before being substituted after 65 minutes, he shouted at the officials, harassed Salisu, and obstructed the play to win free kicks. He had again defeated them.

Perhaps the devil is never fully finished, but this time it was not enough. The sight of him sobbing on the large screen was met with raucous laughter. Ghana had left, but at least it had brought the devil with it.

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