A handball from the past haunted the clash between Ghana and Uruguay. Now they’re both ghosts as far as the 2022 World Cup is concerned.
Uruguayan sense of humour
For many Ghanaians Luis Suarez roams the firmament as the devil incarnate. His resident evil? To have handled the ball on the goal line in the dying seconds of extra-time during the quarter-final between Uruguay and Ghana at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He was sent off for the horror and Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty. And then came the end of extra-time. In the subsequent penalty shoot-out, Ghana lost. It was a bit cheeky then of the Uruguay boss Diego Alonso to name Suarez as skipper for the final Group H game against Ghana. But effective mind games. André Ayew, who played in that match at Soccer City in Johannesburg, missed a penalty mid way through the first-half before the 35-year-old Suarez set up both goals in the 2-0 victory at the Al Thumama Stadium. He was a happy chap when he went off.
Footballing gods’ sense of humour
Luis Suarez came off and was replaced by fellow wily veteran Edinson Cavani for the last quarter of the match. With South Korea level against Portugal over at Education City Stadium, Uruguay were on their way to the last-16 as the runners-up in Group H. But South Korea took the lead in stoppage time to occupy that berth. They held on but could not celebrate because there were 10 minutes left to play between Ghana and Uruguay. Cue TV images of Suarez looking sullen on the substitutes’ bench. Cue pictures of Uruguayan fans fretting, biting their fists and urging their team to get that vital third goal. Cue lots of falling over to win free-kicks. Rue the final whistle. Though Uruguay and South Korea had the same goal difference, South Korea advanced because they had scored more goals.
Existential sense of humour
The giant screens at the Al Thumama Stadium added a wry strand to the proceedings. As the game entered stoppage time, the state of the group was flashed up showing Portugal and South Korea as qualified. The glaring reality made the fans shout even louder for those eight minutes. The Uruguayans for the goal of salvation, for the Ghanaians the goal of sheer cussedness. No goals. And nothingness. World Cup non-existence.
Oddo man out
And with the elimination, self-immolation. Ghana coach Otto Addo announced he would depart and concentrate on his job scouting for rising stars for Borussia Dortmund. “At the moment me and my family see our future in Germany and I like my role at Dortmund and we are very happy there,” said the 47-year-old. Addo became the interim coach in March after Milovan Rajevac was dismissed for overseeing a disastrous campaign at the Africa Cup of Nations where Ghana were ejected after the group stages following a loss to debutants Comoros. At least Addo got them past regional rivals Nigeria to reach the World Cup in Qatar. And he notched up something for the record books: the first Ghanaian manager to win a match at the World Cup with the national team. Respect.
So after 13 days of storm and stress we are down to the last-16. Some tasty customers such as Belgium, Germany and Denmark have gone and surprises such as Australia and Japan have made it through. Cameroon went out in a blaze of glory. A first win over Brazil courtesy of a wonderful injury time header from Vincent Aboubakar, who collected a second yellow card for taking his shirt off in celebration and was promptml sent off. From Day 14, the matches will go to extra-time and penalties if necessary. There will be more histrionics. Oh, what transports of delight.
Source: Modern Ghana