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LAST CHANCE

Goal-shy Uruguay need a repeat of infamous 2010 win over Ghana

Goal-shy Uruguay need a repeat of infamous 2010 win over Ghana
Luis Suarez of Uruguay reacts during the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 Group H match between Portugal and Uruguay at Lusail Stadium on 28 November, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

It will be do or die for Uruguay on Friday when they clash with 2010 World Cup quarterfinal opponents Ghana in their final group game.

Uruguay remain goalless at the World Cup and must find their form against next opponents Ghana in a re-run of one of the most infamous games in World Cup history if they are to progress to the next round of this tournament.

“We are looking for victory against Ghana, there is no doubt about it. If we have to make modifications, that is what we will do,” coach Diego Alonso said after Monday’s 2-0 defeat to Portugal left Uruguay bottom of Group H on one point.

Despite possessing the attacking riches of Darwin Nunez, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, the South Americans also failed to score in their opening 0-0 draw with South Korea.

Their only chance of reaching the last 16 is with a win on Friday against Ghana, but the Africans will want revenge for being cruelly knocked out by Uruguay at the 2010 South Africa World Cup in a memorable and action-packed quarterfinal.

In that game, Suarez handballed on the line in the dying minutes and was sent off, only for Ghana to miss the subsequent penalty then lose a shootout. That deprived them of becoming the first African team in history to reach a World Cup semifinal.

Luis Suarez (far right) of Uruguay clears the ball from the line with his hand during the Fifa World Cup 2010 quarter final match between Uruguay and Ghana at Soccer City stadium outside Johannesburg, South Africa, 2 July, 2010. (Photo: EPA/Jon Hrusa)

Suarez was cast as the villain of the drama — and 12 years later is in the Uruguayan squad and may well line up again against the Africans.


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“For us, it’s a different history,” Alonso said, trying to play down the historic resonance of that game. “They are looking for qualification, us too. It has nothing to do with what happened years ago.”

‘Need to gamble more’

Though Portugal dominated possession at the Lusail stadium, Rodrigo Bentancur, Maxi Gomez and Suarez did come agonisingly close to breaking Uruguay’s Qatar World Cup duck.

“We didn’t play well but we had our chances and we were pushing forward. We were trying for it. But sometimes the opponents are good, they play well, they counter your game plan and don’t let you be where you would like to be,” Alonso said.

The South Americans certainly played with more snap and penetration after substitutes Facundo Pellistri and Giorgian de Arrascaeta came on with just under half an hour left.

“Our game improved with the two new players. The game was asking for them,” Alonso stated. “At the start, Portugal owned the ball, they dominated the ball. Afterwards, we played well. We need to gamble more and to move more freely.”

Arrascaeta looked devastated by the Portugal defeat but was also determined ahead of the Ghana game.

“We have one game left and we have to go for it. Without doubt, we have to win, come what may,” he said. Reuters/DM

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  • Johan Buys says:

    The biggest debates are whether Suarez will (1) repeat his handball stunt and/or (2) bite another player. I’ll be holding all thumbs for Ghana to extract revenge – Suarez does not belong in world football.

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