When will the place in the round of 16 of the world cup Ghana And Uruguay Play at Al Wakrah on Friday, but there is more at stake for Africa’s Black Stars.
It has been 12 years since their only other meeting, in the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez Dominic Adeiah’s goal-bound header was deliberately blocked with his hands in the last minute of extra time. This set in motion a sequence of events that ended with Ghana being knocked out of the tournament in the most dramatic fashion, denying Africa its first ever World Cup semi-finalist.
It is a moment that still stings so much that Ghana FA president Kurt Okraku said on the draw for Qatar: “It will be time for revenge.”
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For some Ghanaian fans, even knocking out Uruguay on Friday won’t be enough to erase their memories of Johannesburg.
Suárez’s actions ended Ghana’s participation in the World Cup, but also prevented a moment in history for African football, which still only has three teams (cameroon in the 1990s, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana itself in 2010) reached the quarterfinals, leave alone going ahead.
But it wasn’t just Suarez’s stunning save on the goal-line that angered the entire continent.
Suárez watched the resulting penalty from the mouth of the tunnel as the red card was shown by the Portuguese referee Olegario Benquarenca.
Asamoah Gyan fired the ball clear of the crossbar and cameras caught Suarez celebrating wildly.
The game, which ended 1–1, was eventually decided by a penalty shootout, with Uruguay winning 4–2. An unrepentant Suárez later dubbed his intervention the “Hand of God” – an allusion to Diego Maradona’s handball goal. Argentina against England In 1986.
“Suárez betrayed us,” former Ghanaian defender John Paintsil, who played that night, told ESPN.
“I will always remember what he did, which is not part of the rules of football. We were cheated by him. Using both hands on the line and doing it deliberately to prevent us from going through to the semi-finals, I would say Suarez isn’t a professional. He cheated.”
Suarez, now 35, is part of the Uruguayan team in Qatar and could be pitted against a country where he has been treated as a villain for more than a decade.
“It’s the comeback,” Ghanaian fan Joseph Dadson told ESPN. “When the draw was made everyone in Ghana thought: ‘A chance for revenge at last.’
“It was the first time Africa hosted the World Cup and it was the first time an African team was going to be in the semi-finals and it didn’t happen and it was all because of Suárez. He stole it from us.”
“It was devastating, and not just for Ghana but for the whole of Africa. At that time, the whole of Africa was behind Ghana and the defeat and how it happened was very much. It was devastating.”
Joseph has traveled 6,000 miles (9,650 km) from Ghana to Doha to support his team during the group stage. If Suarez loses on Friday he will last longer.
“It’s a huge game,” he said. “We were the better team in 2010 and it’s finally time to prove it.”
Ghana or not, Paintsil hopes 2022 will be the year an African team reaches the last four of the World Cup.
With defending Africa Cup of Nations champions Senegal having already booked their place in the round of 16 – they play England on Sunday – Ghana will surely follow if they can beat Uruguay.
As a continent on football’s biggest stage, Africa is still playing catch-up with counterparts in Europe and South America, as until France ’98, they were only guaranteed three qualifiers, where it is now five. In 2026, when the World Cup is expanded to 48 countries, Africa will be guaranteed nine participants.
Perhaps more importantly, African players are joining Europe’s top clubs with increasing regularity, and in October, Senegal’s sadio maneOnce liverpool and playing for now Bayern MunichWas selected as the second best player in the world.
“African countries can compete with the best in the world and the sky is the limit,” Paintsil said. West Ham United, fulham And leicester city,
Progress is also being made on the touchline and for the first time every African country at the World Cup is being managed by an African coach. Ghana is led by 47-year-old Otto Addo, who has coaching experience Borussia DortmundWhere he used to be a player.
“If you look at all the big European teams, there are African players and we have African coaches,” Joseph said. “African success is just around the corner.”
Ghana will be hoping that defeating Uruguay can be the springboard to another memorable campaign, but even when Paintsil sits down to watch the game, there will be a nagging feeling of what could have been. It was Paintsil’s free kick in the penalty area that sparked the chaos at the end of the 2010 clash and it will not be easily forgotten.
“I have nothing against Suarez, what he did was for his country,” he said. He said, ‘Mistakes are a part of human being but even after 12 years I am disappointed with what he did.
“It was a big deal not only for Ghana but for the whole of Africa. Ghana would have been the first African country to reach the semi-finals but the way we were going, we were going straight to the final and winning the trophy because we believed so much.” was.
“We realized that the whole world was behind us, not just Africa. It was a great disappointment.”
Paintsil insisted that despite Ghana’s history with Suárez, the Uruguayan would still be welcome in the country if he ever decided to visit.
However, Joseph isn’t so sure.
Could he ever forgive Suarez? “We’ll see on Friday,” Joseph laughed.