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AL-WAKRAH (VG) (Ghana – Uruguay 0–2) From eleven metres, Ghana’s captain was to exterminate a twelve-year-old ghost. Instead, it only got bigger.
But the last thing first:
This VM-et never stops delivering group stage drama.
For the second day in a row, only losers remain in one arena, and the Uruguayan radio reporters could hardly shout their despair louder after South Korea rapped the place in the round of 8 on more goals scored after his overtime goal against Portugal.
Uruguay was furthermore, Luis Suárez had tricked Ghana again, Uruguay was to meet big brother Brazil in the round of 8, but Uruguay will not be and referee Daniel Siebert from Germany will have to have help to get away from angry South Americans afterwards.
José Giménez runs behind a TV crew and gestures violently, probably in despair that neither Darwin Núñez nor Edinson Cavani were awarded a penalty, and Siebert went against the VAR room’s advice when he waved away the first of the two situations.
So then two teams stand there and have to realize that the adventure is over, and once again the World Cup cries for and with Ghana and all of Africa who are still dreaming of their first semi-final.
But this time they will at least avoid seeing a jubilant Luis Suárez in front of them, who became the goalkeeper in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in South Africa in the last minute of the second extra period. Most footballers would probably do the same as Suarez, the handball gave him a red card and Ghana got their penalty, but Ghana and penalties go together less and less in the World Cup.
Asamoah Gyan blew it into the crossbar in 2010. Uruguay won the penalty shootout and Suarez’s scenes of jubilation afterwards were too much to handle for heartbroken Ghanaians, an entire football continent and in and of itself large parts of the football world and in Ghana he is referred to as “the devil himself” in front this match.
André Ayew was 20 years old in 2010 and one of the main reasons for Ghana’s success, named man of the match in the quarter-final against the USA, with the goal-scoring extra-time pass to match-winner Asamoah Gyan.
Ayew lost the quarter-final against Uruguay in 2010. He received his second yellow card against the USA, and although the TV images showed that he did not bump into American Jozy Altidore and Ghana protested, the card stood.
From the bench, Ayew had to watch the drama the country has never forgotten, and more than anyone else he was looking to avenge the defeat to Uruguay. All he had to do was shoot the ball into the goal from 11 metres, which according to Ivar Hoff is easier than taking a kick-off.
But that’s not the case in a decisive World Cup match.
André Ayew has played around the world, is the son of the legend Abedi Pelé, but there was no stout captain who stepped up to the ball.
It was a little boy with an entire nation and a devil from Uruguay hanging over his shoulders who stepped forward and served Sergio Rochet a potential national hero save.
From there it was all downhill for Ghana and it was somewhat written in the football stars that now championship-ready Uruguay would fix this advancement.
A few minutes later, Suarez reappeared, of course he did. First a shot that Giorgian De Arrascaeta dived over the goal line, then Suarez lifted the ball on to de Arrascaeta and the Flamengo player blasted it into the goal and Ghana out of the World Cup.
Twelve minutes after the penalty miss, it was more or less over. Twelve years after the penalty miss, the devil won again.
But then he didn’t do it anyway. This time Uruguay were not cunning enough either. In overtime, the devil also lost and when the message about the South Korean goal appeared on the big screen, Luis Suarez disappeared under the suit.
In one way or another, that is another consolation for Ghana.