Suarez breaks Ghana hearts again but Uruguay's 'Devil' sees World Cup dream end in tears

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July 2, 2010. Extra-time at Soccer City, Johannesburg. Ghana, the youngest squad at the World Cup, appearing at just their second finals, were on the brink of history.

No African team had previously made it into the semi-finals of a World Cup, yet with a last-eight tie with Uruguay tied at 1-1, Ghana had a penalty.

Luis Suarez had cheated, Dominic Adiyiah's header had been going in until the then-Ajax forward (who would move to Liverpool six months later and really launch himself to stardom) used his hand to keep the ball out on the line.

Suarez saw red, and watched on with the rest of the world as Asamoah Gyan stepped up, history beckoning.

If football was fair, Gyan would have scored. But it's not fair, and he didn't. His spot-kick hit the crossbar, and Uruguay went on to win on penalties.

Twelve years later, at Al Janoub Stadium, just south of Doha, the sides met again. A grudge match that had long promised to be one of the standout games of the group stage.

This time, things would be different. That was the hope for Ghana.

In the end, it was not the outcome Otto Addo's side would have wanted. They wanted to progress, a draw would have done it, but a 2-0 defeat sent them out.

Yet revenge can come in many forms. Perhaps this was fate all along. That Uruguay would win, but that Ghana would have the pleasure of knocking Suarez out of what seems almost certain to be his last World Cup.

"One of the most iconic moments of World Cup history was created by Suarez and everyone back home is looking for Ghana to be the one who will end their World Cup dream," Ghanaian journalist Rahman Osman told Stats Perform before the game.

For much of Friday's match, it appeared as though Suarez had helped drag Uruguay through from Group H.

"The Devil himself", as he has been dubbed by some media and fans in Ghana, was once again acting as his nation's guardian angel.

Another penalty miss from Ghana, 21 minutes into the contest, deflated the Black Stars. Mohammed Kudus – like Suarez 12 years ago, an Ajax player proving his quality on the biggest stage – had been brought down by Sergio Rochet, the spot-kick given after a VAR check.

Andre Ayew, the only player to have featured in both the 2010 squad and the one in Qatar, stepped up. Perhaps the long wait for the referee to change his decision, and then send away the arguing Uruguayans, had been too much. Or perhaps the scars of 2010 simply cut too deep.

Either way, Ghana's captain and most experienced player sent a tame penalty straight at the diving Rochet.

Suarez, of course, had been the player leading Uruguay's protestations. It was he who orchestrated two goals for his team inside the next 11 minutes.

Lawrence Ati-Zigi got down well to Suarez's low shot in the 26th minute, but Giorgian de Arrascaeta headed home the rebound.

De Arrascaeta doubled his tally in a wholly more spectacular fashion, volleying in across Ghana's goalkeeper – but it was Suarez's deft, over-the-shoulder flick that teed up the 28-year-old.

Suarez did not score, yet this was a vintage display from one of football's great pantomime villains. He nutmegged Inaki Williams down on the touchline just before half-time. He was in the mood.

It looked like Suarez would get the chance to really stick the knife in when Daniel Amartey appeared to barge into Darwin Nunez in the area, but Ghana were spared after another long VAR consultation.

That decision, it proved, was crucial.

Ghana showed spirit, but it looked like Uruguay would not only win the game, but also go through. That was until news of a second goal for South Korea against Portugal filtered through – they had come from behind to lead 2-1 in stoppage time.

By that time, Suarez was sat on the bench, helpless, as he was in 2010. Unlike in 2010, there were no celebrations, just tears.

With the South Korea match finished first, Uruguay knew they only needed one goal and began pouring forward.

Suarez was up on the bench and remonstrating with the rest of the squad when his replacement Edinson Cavani went down in the area.

The referee was not even called over to the monitor by VAR - on another day, that one too might have been given.

But football's not fair, and while the rest of his team-mates charged at the officials after the whistle, Suarez sat on the bench, head bowed into his shirt, the tears flowing freely. Uruguay had gone out due to scoring fewer goals than Korea.

The irony is, Ghana's prospects are bright. They have performed admirably in a tough group, scoring five goals and playing some excellent football. They are a team on the up, and will surely be stronger in the United States, Canada and Mexico in 2026.

Like Germany a day earlier, Uruguay have paid the price for leaving it far too late, for not having their progress firmly in their own hands.

They won the game, but are out anyway, and for their old heads like Suarez, who turns 36 next month, the World Cup dreams are surely over for good.