The quarter-final between Uruguay and Ghana in South Africa 12 years ago is widely regarded as one of the most iconic World Cup matches in history.
On a tense night in Johannesburg, it was a game that had it all; drama, controversy, heartbreak, villains and heroes – both played by the same guy, by the way.
Luis Suarez’s role as Uruguay’s savior that night made him persona non grata in Ghana, even earning him the nicknames “Diablo” or “The Devil”.
With the score at 1-1, Suarez blocked the goal line with both hands in the final seconds of extra time. It was a goal that would have sent Ghana into the semi-finals of the World Cup, making them the first African team in history to reach the semi-finals.
Instead, Suarez was sent off but Ghana’s star player and captain Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty. The image of Suarez celebrating a mistake in the tunnel became one of the enduring moments of that World Cup and only further angered the already rabid Ghanaian fans.
Ghana went on to lose the ensuing penalty shootout and thus lost the team’s chance to make history.
Now, ahead of the first meeting between the two sides since that memorable night more than 12 years ago, Suarez insists he has nothing to say sorry for.
“I’m not going to apologize for that … but the player will miss a penalty,” Suarez told reporters ahead of the rematch, according to Reuters. “Maybe, I can say [I] I apologize if I hurt a player and got a red card.
“But in this case, I got a red card and the referee awarded a penalty. It’s not my fault because I didn’t miss it. The penalty is not my responsibility.”
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