Diego Alonso blames Portugal penalty as Uruguay make ugly World Cup exit

  • Alonso: spot-kick in second game ‘should not have been given’
  • Edinson Cavani appears to push VAR monitor over after game

The Uruguay coach, Diego Alonso, blamed the penalty given to Portugal in their second group game for his side’s exit from the World Cup.

A 2-0 win over Ghana on Friday was not enough to take second place in the group, South Korea’s victory over Portugal meaning they finished above Uruguay on goals scored. There was penalty controversy – again – in the game against Ghana, with two strong Uruguay appeals ruled out by the German official, Daniel Siebert, in the second half.

Uruguay’s players furiously surrounded the referee at the end, continuing their protests on the way to the tunnel. Edinson Cavani, who was denied a late penalty, was booked for remonstrating with Siebert, and later shoved the VAR monitor to the floor on the way back to the dressing room.

During the game, Federico Valverde had run up to Siebert to celebrate after André Ayew had a first-half penalty saved for Ghana, while there were also protests after Darwin Núñez was brought down by Daniel Amartey in the box. Afterwards, though, Alonso was more exercised about an incident in the previous game, which Uruguay lost 2-0 to Portugal.

José María Giménez fell in challenging Bruno Fernandes, the ball striking his hand as he did so. Ifab’s guidelines specifically state that that should not be given as a foul but the VAR official, Abdullah al-Marri of Qatar, instructed the Iranian referee, Alireza Faghani, to review the decision.

Faghani gave the penalty from which Fernandes made it 2-0; had that game finished 1-0, Uruguay would have gone through. “We are out because of the penalty for Portugal and what it did to the goal difference,” Alonso said. “That was awarded but according to Fifa was not a penalty.” Exactly what communication there has been remains unclear.

Edinson Cavani appears to punch a VAR pitchside monitor on his way back to the dressing room.
Edinson Cavani appears to punch a VAR pitchside monitor on his way back to the dressing room. Photograph: Twitter

Cavani could face further action from Fifa after a clip emerged on social media on Friday, showing the forward striking out at the pitchside VAR monitor on his way back to the dressing room. Several Uruguay players had earlier followed Siebert down the tunnel at full-time, before returning to the pitch to applaud their supporters and reflect on a disappointing early exit.

“I would have liked to see this version of Uruguay before but this is what happened,” Alonso went on. “I don’t have anything to say to my players: they broke their backs and gave their best selves. Everyone can see what happened in previous match.”

He said it was too early to talk about his future, but the Ghana coach, Otto Addo, is leaving the national team. “When I started last year,” he said, “it was clear that I would stop after the World Cup. My family and I see my future in Germany. We are very happy there. I said when we qualified that I would resign after.”

Addo urged fans not to blame Ayew for missing the penalty. “There is nobody who hasn’t missed a penalty,” he said. “People who don’t know much about football will give that person the blame.”


Jonathan Wilson at Al Janoub Stadium

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