This was a match that all Ghanaian football fans had waited for. Ghana were looking for revenge for the controversial defeat to Uruguay at the 2010 World Cup quarter-final, but all they got was more misery.
The drama of the infamous 2010 defeat surrounded Asamoah Gyan’s missed penalty with the final kick of the game in extra-time, before yet more penalty woe in the shootout. Ghana had a chance to exorcise those ghosts, with captain André Ayew’s 21st-minute penalty.
Ayew, who was in the squad for the 2010 tournament but missed the quarter-final defeat through suspension, saw his spot-kick saved. Déjà vu for the Black Stars.
2 – Since detailed collection began in 1966, Ghana are the only side to miss two penalties against a single opponent at the World Cup, excluding shoot-outs (in 2010 and 2022 vs Uruguay). Flashbacks. pic.twitter.com/bDdeq4TpDG— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 2, 2022
Just five minutes and 21 seconds after Sergio Rochet’s penalty stop, the villain of 2010 Luis Suárez saw his shot palmed out before Giorgian de Arrascaeta followed up to score from close range with a header. De Arrascaeta scored five goals in qualifying for the finals, with only Suárez (eight) scoring more on the road to Qatar for the Uruguayans. This was Uruguay’s first goal of the 2022 World Cup, and as a result they became the final team to find the net in the tournament.
They didn’t have to wait long for their second, as De Arrascaeta was to double his tally of World Cup goals just four minutes and 31 seconds later, again after more fine work from Suárez.
This was to be the third successive World Cup match that Ghana conceded two goals in quick succession at the 2022 tournament. In their opening match against Portugal, they conceded twice in the space of two minutes and 15 seconds after equalising, then leading 2-0 against South Korea, Ghana gave away their lead by conceding twice in two minutes and 48 seconds – luckily for them, they were able to recover and later find a winner.
Suárez exited the pitch on 66 minutes after rolling back the years with this performance – his final World Cup appearance. The legs may have lost their strength and speed since 2010, but Ghana quickly found out that the brain was still as sharp as ever. Of the 22 players to start this match, the 35-year-old was the only one who played a part in the match 12 years ago.
After a poor two games to kick off their 2022 World Cup campaign, this was the performance we’d been waiting for. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t enough, with South Korea’s injury-time winner against the already-qualified Portugal sending the South Americans out on goals scored.
In stopping Uruguay from scoring again, Ghana sent their adversaries home with them. Twelve years ago, Suárez was in tears of joy on the sideline. Today, he was in tears on the side of the pitch at full-time once again, but in very different circumstances. Some revenge, I suppose.