Uruguay go out of World Cup 2022 despite 2-0 win over Ghana – as it happened

Last modified: 05: 16 PM GMT+0

Luis Suarez made both goals but ended the game in tears when South Korea’s late winner against Portugal put Uruguay out

Just one more thing. I missed this at the time, but Fede Valverde celebrated Andre Ayew’s missed penalty by pumping his fists at the referee. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.

Uruguay midfielder Federico Valverde celebrated Andre Ayew's penalty miss for Ghana in the referee's face. pic.twitter.com/KVNe6VvaRJ

— Sam Street (@samstreetwrites) December 2, 2022


Jonathan Wilson’s match report has arrived, which is my cue to walk home in a daze trying to make sense of the last three hours. Thanks for your company and emails; goodnight!

“Towards the very end, when Ghana had lost all hope, it was as if they wanted to make damn sure that they would drag Uruguay into the grave with them,” says Kári Tulinius. “The ghost of Soccer City has been exorcised.”

“Suarez/Uruguay in general are hilarious,” says Niall Mullen. “They’re a combination of the most dead-eyed cynicism when things are going their way and wild emotional appeals to natural justice when they’re not.”

Uruguay had two very strong penalty shouts in the second half – one on Nunez, one on Cavani. The second one looked like a penalty to me. Against that, Giorgian de Arrascaeta should have been sent off in the first half.


Suarez is being consoled by some of the Uruguay backroom staff. He is haemorrhaging tears. This is the most extraordinary scene. At one stage, I honestly thought one of the Uruguayan players was going to chin the referee.

Uruguay are FURIOUS! 😡

They chase the officials down the tunnel after being knocked out of the World Cup! #BBCFootball #BBCWorldCup pic.twitter.com/eps9TRwpnk

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2022
Luis Suarez cries salty tears.
The tears of a group stage exit. Photograph: Tolga Bozoğlu/EPA


The last few days of this tournament have been incredible. South Korea, who were given no chance two hours ago, will now play Brazil (probably) or Switzerland in the last 16.

It’s kicking off! A number of the Uruguay players angrily confront the referee at the final whistle. Cavani was certainly booked; a few others might have been as well.

Luis Suarez wasn’t among them. He buried his head in her shirt and started weeping, knowing that his truly extraordinary World Cup story was over.

Edinson Cavani confronts the referee.
Oh, you hate to see this sort of thing, don’t we? Photograph: Nigel Keene/ProSports/Shutterstock


Full time: Ghana 0-2 Uruguay

Ghana and Uruguay have knocked each other out of the World Cup. It was another extraordinary double-header, and in the end Uruguay paid the price for budgeting that South Korea wouldn’t beat Portugal. They did, and finished above Uruguay on goals scored.

90+10 min De la Cruz curls the free-kick straight into the arms of Ati-Zigi.

90+9 min Seidu fouls Gomez 25 yards from goal. He’s booked. More to the point, this is Uruguay’s last chance…

90+8 min Mohammed Kudus is replaced by Abdul Fatawu Issahaku.

90+7 min: Another chance for Uruguay! Cavani’s low cross from the right is poked towards goal by Coates, and the lunging Amartey makes a vital block. Cavani could have gone for goal himself. The referee gives a goalkick but it should have been a corner.

90+6 min This is absurd, like a basketball game, with both teams leaving four or five players upfield. Sulemana’s vicious drive from the edge of the area is pushed away superbly by Rochet, divinb to his right.

90+5 min Kudus has a shot brilliantly blocked by Coates, then Semenyo has a penalty appeal turned down. Uruguay break, five on three, and Gomez crashes a long-range shot that is superbly pushed round the post by Ati-Zigi! That would have sneaked into the net off the inside of the post.

90+4 min This is wonderful entertainment.

90+3 min: Penalty appeal! Cavani goes down in the area after a challenge from Seidu. The referee isn’t interested, nor are Team VAR – but there was definitely a tangle of legs. I’d like to see it again but my first thought is that it could easily have been given.

Suarez is wagging both fingers on the touchline.

Edinson Cavani claims a penalty, nothing doing.
Edinson Cavani claims a penalty, nothing doing. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA


90+2 min Ghana, sensing the mood, are almost defending a 2-0 deficit. They should keep attacking here, because two goals would put them through. I think, I haven’t a clue any more.

Full time: South Korea 2-1 Portugal

Uruguay have eight minutes to score the goal that would keep them in the World Cup.



90+1 min There will be a minimum of eight added minutes.

90 min There will be a lot of added time here, maybe as much as 10 minutes. Ati-Zigi is still down.


— James Dart (@James_Dart) December 2, 2022

89 min Ati-Zigi landed very awkwardly after that save, and there’s a break in play while he receives treatment.

Lawrence Ati-Zigi lands awkwardly on his neck.
Lawrence Ati-Zigi lands awkwardly on his neck. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters


88 min: Great save by Ati-Zigi! Cavani’s flicked header is brilliantly pushed over the bar, though it wouldn’t have counted as Cavani was fractionally offside.

88 min Uruguay budgeted that South Korea would not beat Portugal; at the moment it looks like an almighty mistake. But if they or Portugal score one goal, they will be go through.

87 min Sulemana is also booked, no idea why.

87 min Coates is booked for a brazen foul on Sulemana, who beat three players on a thrilling run down the left. He looks a player, this lad.


86 min Suarez has his shirt over his face. Uruguay have been coasting through the second half, content to keep Ghana at arm’s length.

86 min That means South Korea are ahead of Uruguay on goals scored. Luis Suarez is almost in tears.

GOAL! South Korea 2-1 Portugal

Now Uruguay need to score another goal, because South Korea have gone in front against Portugal!


82 min “I’m still not convinced that Maradona’s Hand of God goal was illegal, Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “Sure, there’s one angle that makes it look like handball, but then there’s also an angle that makes Japan’s second goal last night look like the ball was out of play. Can we be sure of anything anymore? Apart from Scotland not qualifying for World Cups, obvs.”

81 min: Fine save by Rocher! Vecino (I think) loses the ball on the edge of the D. Kudus collects it and whistles a low shot that is pushed round the post by Rocher, diving low to his right. That’s his best save of the match.


80 min: Uruguay substitutions Maxi Gomez and Agustin Canobbio replace Darwin Nunez and the hero Giorgian de Arrascaeta.

79 min: Chance for Semenyo! A huge opportunity for Ghana. A loose ball ran kindly for Semenyo, 10 yards out, but he swept a left-footed shot just wide of the far post.

Antoine Semenyo with a big miss for Ghana!
Antoine Semenyo with a big miss for Ghana! Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters


79 min The exciting Sulemana beats Varela not once but twice before lofting a deep cross towards Bukari. Oliveira gets in front of him to head clear.

78 min A reminder that as things stand, Uruguay are going through. But a goal for South Korea, or two for Ghana, would change that.

77 min Valverde tries to score from the halfway line. It’s a decent effort, a few yards over the bar, though Ati-Zigi would have made it back in time.

Federico Valverde in action.
Federico Valverde in action. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian


77 min Sulemana runs at Varela and wins a corner. He’s been really good since coming on. The corner is headed away by Coates, and that’s that. Ghana are running out of time, and hope.

74 min Ghana have had only two shots on target – the penalty, and the shot from Jordan Ayew that led to it.

74 min “I’d say Luis Suarez forfeited any right to ‘fairness’ when he racially abused Patrice Evra, for which he remains unrepentant,” says Jonathan Francis. “Suarez’s deserves all the abuse he gets.”

73 min: Double substitution for Ghana Antoine Semenyo and Daniel-Kofi Kyereh replace Salis Abdul Samed and Inaki Williams.

71 min Kudus beats two players beautifully but then thrashes over from 25 yards.

70 min: Good save by Ati-Zigi! Valverde swishes a terrific volley from 25 yards that bounces up awkwardly in front of Ati-Zigi. He does well to shovel it out of harm’s way.

69 min The lively Sulemana wins a corner for Ghana. Rahman’s dangerous outswinger is headed up in the air at the far post, and Partey miscontrols the dropping ball into the arms of Rochet.

68 min Ghana have been a bit better in the second half but they still haven’t really threatened to score since Andre Ayew’s missed penalty. There’s been an air of fatalism about their perormance.

66 min: Double substitution for Uruguay Edinson Cavani and Nicolas de la Cruz replace Facundo Pellistri and Luis Suarez. He made quite an impression.

Another quiet game for Suarez at the World Cup.
Another quiet game for Suarez at the World Cup. Photograph: Noushad Thekkayil/EPA


65 min: Pellistri misses a great chance! That was lovely play from Uruguay, with Suarez involved again. After some rat-a-tat passing, he teed up Pellistri, who forced a shot just wide of the near post from 10 yards.


65 min “Your anti-Suarez hate is extremely unbecoming of a supposed journalist,” writes somebody nameless. “I’m not saying you must be neutral, but some restraint in the vitriol would be more respectable. Get a hold of yourself.”

I actually thought I’d been quite kind to him.

Luis Suarez, we hardly knew ye.
Luis Suarez, we hardly knew ye. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters


64 min A booming cross from Sulemana is left by Rochet and evades the sliding Bukari at the far post. The two substitutes have given Ghana a bit more attacking oomph.

62 min “With Italy absent at this World Cup, I thought I wouldn’t see a team utterly dominate a first half and then fall back and rely on their defence to see them through, with disastrous results ,” writes Barry Davies Kári Tulinius . “With South Korea only one goal away from knocking Uruguay out, the latter are in danger of doing an Italy.”

If South Korea win 2-1 against Portugal (it’s currently 1-1), Uruguay will indeed go out on goals scored.


61 min Sulemana plays an accidental wall pass off the referee.

60 min Suarez is booked for opening his mouth once too often.

59 min: No penalty! The referee has decided that Amartey got the ball fairly. I’m not sure he did. The odd thing is that VAR didn’t look at the way Nunez controlled the ball in the first place.

It feels like the referee has got the right answer but with the wrong working.


Amartey definitely got a touch on the ball, though he went through Nunez to do so. I think that’s a foul, but there is also a suggestion that Nunez controlled the ball with his arm.


The referee is going to the monitor! There are two things to look at – whether Nunez handled the ball, and then whether he was fouled by Amartey.

57 min: Huge penalty appeal for Uruguay! De Arrascaeta lifts a lovely ball over the defence to Nunez, who chests it down on the run and is about to shoot when Amartey makes a risky challenge from the side. Nunez goes down, certain it’s a penalty, but the referee isn’t interested.

Darwin Nunez and Daniel Amartey tangle in the box. Big shout for a penalty.
Darwin Nunez and Daniel Amartey tangle in the box. Big shout for a penalty. Photograph: Bernadett Szabó/Reuters


56 min Salisu clips an excellent long pass towards Sulemana, who collides with the keeper Rochet and goes down. I think Rochet got the ball, and there is no suggestion that VAR are looking at it.

55 min Valverde’s free-kick is headed across the area and cleared by Salisu. Uruguay are 35ish minutes away from a probable last 16 match against Brazil.

The last time they met in the World Cup was in 1970.

54 min Suarez turns Salisu superbly and is fouled, 30 yards from goal. He asks for a booking but the referee waves him away.


53 min Ghana are having a lot of the ball now, though most of it is in front of the Uruguay defence.

50 min Bukari runs Olivera and drives a deep cross that is headed away by Pellistri. Ghana have looked more focussed at the start of the second half; they lost their way completely before half-time.

49 min “I’m enjoying this in pretty well exactly the way I used to enjoy Saturday morning wrestling when I was a kid – my vocabulary is a bit wider now, but it’s still a matter of screaming at the bad guy on the television,” says Charles Antaki. “Luis Suárez as Giant Haystacks.”

Luis Suarez chats with Mohammed Salisu. Something about biting?
Luis Suarez chats with Mohammed Salisu. Something about biting? Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian


48 min Pellistri plays a long ball down the right towards Nunez. He scorches away from Amartey but then overhits his cross towards Suarez.

47 min “Couldn’t agree more with Espen Bommen earlier,” says Tom Atkins. “I’ve changed my opinion of South American dark arts after seeing Asif Kapadia’s incredible Maradona documentary – specifically the bit during the game against the supposedly hard-but-fair English team where Terry Fenwick gives Maradona a horrendous off the ball elbow in the face. If you’re going to do stuff like this, at least do it with a bit of élan and chutzpah, and make it entertaining.”

46 min: Just wide from Bukari! Almost the perfect start for Ghana. A cross from the left reached Bukari beyond the far post, 15 yards out. He chested it down and bobbled a low shot wide of the far post. Kudus slid towards the ball, though he was offside and missed it anyway.

46 min Peep peep! Ghana begin the second half, needing two goals to qualify for the last 16 (probably).

Ghana need a big second half from Jordan Ayew.
Ghana need a big second half from Jordan Ayew. Photograph: Richard Sellers/Getty Images


Ghana are making a double substitution Kamaldeen Sulemana and Osman Bukari and on for Jordan and Andre Ayew.

That second goal from De Arrascaeta is so good.

Giorgian de Arrascaeta is at the double! 🔥

Uruguay are well on their way to breaking Ghanaian hearts once again! #GHA 0-2 #URU

📺 Watch on @BBCiPlayer listen on @BBCSounds and get more on the @BBCSport app 📲 pic.twitter.com/d8Sk8cYThe

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2022

“I probably wouldn’t feel this way if I actually had to play against them but I have a soft spot for Uruguay as they are so spectacularly unlikable,” says Espen Bommen. “The whole scuffing up the penalty spot doesn’t even register on their shithousery scale. I dare anyone to say they don’t find it at least a little funny. Plus, going back to previous Uruguayan teams, 1986 comes to mind, this version looks like fair-play candidates.”

Yeah, say what you like about Suarez but he’s never resorted to prostate examinations mid-match.

Half time: Ghana 0-2 Uruguay

That was as lively and controversial as we expected. Andre Ayew missed a penalty for Ghana, and then Giorgian De Arrascaeta took over. He scored twice - both made by Luis Suarez, the second a peach of a team goal – and then got away with a stamp on Alidu Seidu.

Ghana will feel hard done by again, but the truth is that Uruguay, and especially Suarez, have got in their heads.

45+6 min Pellistri chases a loose ball into the penalty area and is blocked off by Amartey. He goes down holding his face, though replays show any contact was with his breastbone. For a second it looked like it might be a penalty and maybe even a red card for Amartey.

45+5 min Valverde’s outswinging free-kick is headed over by Gimenez, 12 yards out. A half-chance.

45+4 min The difference a goal or two makes. Uruguay have the full swagger on now, and are toying with Ghana as half-time approaches. Ghana need to get off the field and clear their heads.


45+2 min “Commentators saying the keeper should have done better for the first goal,” sniffs Nick Parish. “That’s incredibly harsh. It was smashed at him from about 5 yards away and he parried it away so that it would have gone wide if De Arrascaeta hadn’t got there first. It’s the defenders who should have done better - if they’d have reached the rebound first, it wouldn’t have been a goal.”

I agree with you; I thought he did really well to get down so low to his left with such little reaction time.

45+1 min There will be eight added minutes.

45 min Suarez nutmegs Williams near the corner flag, moves into the area and hits a cross that is blocked. He’s having a whale of a time.

43 min Nope, no VAR check.

42 min Seidu screams with pain after a challenge with De Arrascaeta. I’m not surprised – De Arrascaeta stamped on his chest after the ball had gone. If that was deliberate, and it looked it, he should be sent off. But I’m not sure VAR have looked at it.

That’s nasty from Giorgian de Arrascaeta on Seidu
That’s nasty from Giorgian de Arrascaeta on Seidu. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters


40 min Seidu’s cross is too close to Rochet. Ghana look a bit shellshocked.

40 min “Guarding the penalty spot so the opposing team can’t scuff it up?” sniffs Asad Butt. “As the great Bunk Moreland once said, ‘How far we done fell’...”

39 min Here are De Arrascaeta’s goals, Uruguay’s first at this World Cup.

Uruguay take the lead just minutes after Ghana's penalty miss!

Giorgian de Arrascaeta bundles in after Luis Suarez saw his effort saved!#GHA 0-1 #URU

📺 Watch on @BBCiPlayer listen on @BBCSounds and get more on the @BBCSport app 📲 #BBCWorldCup #BBCFootball pic.twitter.com/ukNesazA0v

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2022

Giorgian de Arrascaeta is at the double! 🔥

Uruguay are well on their way to breaking Ghanaian hearts once again! #GHA 0-2 #URU

📺 Watch on @BBCiPlayer listen on @BBCSounds and get more on the @BBCSport app 📲 pic.twitter.com/d8Sk8cYThe

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2022

36 min Kudus belts a long-range shot that hits Gimenez and goes behind for a corner. Nothing comes of it. Ghana would love a goal before half-time but the main thing is that they don’t concede a third, because their heads are all over the place. They need half-time desperately.

36 min “Just a note on Suarez 2010 (in case you haven’t had enough already),” says Dan McKeown. “Let’s not forget that the reason Suarez was in his box at the time, was that Ghana had earned a free-kick in a very promising position with a dive so egregious that no one with a half-competent guide dog would have given it.”

I had forgotten that, possibly because I was flootered at the time. Looks like you’re right though.

34 min: Uruguay substitution Rodrigo Bentancur is going off injured. Matias Vecino replaces him.

Suarez was involved again, of course he was. Pellistri cut infield from the right and lifted a pass to Nunez on the edge of the area. He headed it across to Suarez, who lobbed it cleverly over Seidu towards the unmarked De Arrascaeta. He waited for the ball to drop, twisted his body and slammed a volley under Ati-Zigi. Brilliant goal.


GOAL! Ghana 0-2 Uruguay (De Arrascaeta 32)

Giorgian de Arrascaeta gets his second – and this one is a belter!

Giorgian de Arrascaeta scores a wonderful second goal for Uruguay. Ghana are stunned.
Giorgian de Arrascaeta scores a wonderful second goal for Uruguay. Ghana are stunned. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters


30 min Suarez is down after a challenge from Seidu. He’ll be fine.

29 min “This tournament is pure, unadulterated narrative,” says Ben Kybett. “At this rate, Argentina will beat England in the final with a hand-of-God goal scored by Messi and mysteriously overlooked by VAR.”

History repeats itself! 🤯

Andre Ayew steps up - and #GHA miss ANOTHER World Cup penalty against #URU


📺💻 Watch on @BBCiPlayer and the BBC Sport app. pic.twitter.com/Jg30oBUc3W

— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2022

28 min The plot thickens: South Korea have equalised against Portugal. But as things stand, Uruguay are going through.

28 min Ghana are rocking at the moment. Suarez, suddenly rampant, has another shot that is well blocked by a defender.

A cross from the right was missed by two Ghana defenders and reached Suarez beyond the far post. He cut inside and hit a rasping drive that was partially stopped to his left by Ati-Zigi; it bounced behind him and de Arrascaeta headed it gleefully into the net from a yard.


GOAL! Ghana 0-1 Uruguay (De Arrascaeta 26)

Luis Suarez makes a goal for Giorgian de Arrascaeta!

Giorgian de Arrascaeta nods Uruguay in front!
Giorgian de Arrascaeta nods Uruguay in front! Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters
Luis Suarez celebrates after his teammate Giorgian de Arrascaeta opens the scoring for Uruguay!
Luis Suarez celebrates after his teammate Giorgian de Arrascaeta opens the scoring for Uruguay! Photograph: Nick Potts/PA


25 min A note on the penalty – VAR showed that Andre Ayew wasn’t offside. I thought he was off but not interfering with play..

24 min “That was one of the worst penalties I’ve ever seen,” says Matt Burtz. “As he was approaching the ball I literally thought ‘he’s going to miss this’. There was no conviction whatsoever.”

It reminded me of this, albeit without the funky camerawork.

24 min Popcorn, please!

23 min: Off the line by Salisu! It’s all happening now. Nunez charges through on goal and lifts the ball stylishly over Ati-Zigi, but Salisu gets back to boot the ball behind for a corner.

22 min Sad to say, it was a poor penalty from Andre Ayew. He walked up slowly and dragged a pretty tame shot towards the bottom-right corner. Rochet guessed right and kept it out with a strong left hand.



21 min This is incredible.

Sergio Rochet saves the penalty!
Sergio Rochet saves the penalty! Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters


20 min It’s all kicking off! Darwin Nunez has been booked for excessive feistiness. Andre Ayew will take the penalty.

19 min Rochet is fuming, Suarez is fuming. The Ghana players are protecting the penalty spot so that it can’t be scuffed up.



Sergio Rochet fouls Mohammed Kudus. Narrative.
Sergio Rochet fouls Mohammed Kudus. Narrative. Photograph: Mohamed Messara/EPA
Penalty to Ghana
Penalty! Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters


18 min Andre Ayew was presumably not interfering with play, so now they are looking at Rochet’s challenge on Kudus. I think it’s a foul, though it’s hard to be 100 per cent sure.

17 min The referee is going to the monitor, and Luis Suarez is flapping his gums angrily.

VAR check for a Ghana penalty! I think this will be given.

16 min: Good save by Rochet! Jordan Ayew cuts inside on the edge of the area and hits a low drive that is well saved by Rochet, diving low to his left. Kudus lifts the rebound over the diving Rochet and seems to be fouled – but then the flag goes up for offside against Andre Ayew. We might have another VAR special here.


13 min Suarez heads the ball on towards Nunez, who charges away from Seidu and towards the penalty area. Salisu comes across, Nunez leaves the ball behind and is challenged by the recovering Seidu. For a moment it looked like he was through on goal.

13 min De Arrascaeta gets round the back on the right but his cross is too close to Ati-Zigi.

Today's @guardian_sport FW@kickback_nedum @bglendenning @ed_aarons @NickAmes82

Any questions?

— Max Rushden 💛🖤 (@maxrushden) December 2, 2022

10 min The game hasn’t really got going. Give it time, there’s no chance this ends without an incident.

9 min Varela plays a good ball down the right to Pellistri, who holds off Rahman and cuts the ball back to the edge of the area. There’s nobody there.

9 min Good news for Ghana and Uruguay: Portugal have taken the lead against South Korea.

8 min “Surely,” says Shiladitya Pandit, “screaming ‘negrito’ at Patrice Evra, flipping off Fulham fans, and munching people from three different nationalities in three different countries trumps getting a red card for a handball.”

Well, yes.

6 min Suarez has been quiet so far, and none of the Ghana players have tried to maim him. He has first run down the left and is booed all the way by the Ghana fans.

5 min “Let’s face it, we’d have expected an English player to take a red in the Suarez situation in 2010, just as we expect the last defender to foul the forward rather than let them through on goal in the dying stages of a cup tie,” says Nick Smith. “Suarez’s actions afterwards were just glee at getting through.”

Will nobody think of the children?

4 min De Arrascaeta robs Partey and Uruguay break quickly. Eventually Nunez dives just outside the area and the referee waves play on.

2 min Gimenez is caught late by Kudus, a poor tackle for which he should really have been booked.

Mohammed Kudus fouls Gimenez. He felt that.
Mohammed Kudus fouls Gimenez. He felt that. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters


1 min Peep peep! Luis Suarez gets the match under way. Uruguay are kicking from right to left as we watch.

Luis Suarez shakes his hands with all the Ghana players, smiling like a friendly puppy. Now he’s blowing kisses to someone in the crowd. He’s up to something.

Luis Suarez shakes hands with the Ghana players.
He’s planning the heist. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images


“My YouTube feed recently suggested a clip of Spain v Uruguay from Italia ‘90,” says Stephen Moonie. “During the match, one of Spain’s defenders did a ‘Suarez’, blocking a Uruguayan header which was clearly going in. Ruben Sosa blasted his penalty over the bar, the game ended 0-0, and Spain won the group. What goes around, eh?”

It wasn’t even a red-card offence back then, so Francisco Villaroya stayed on the field.

Luis Suarez, who has spent the last 24 hours making himself at home in Ghana’s subconscious, leads Uruguay onto the field. There’s a cracking atmosphere in the stadium.

In case anyone fancies, in honour of Ghana v Uruguay, here's a playlist of Ghanaian bangers. https://t.co/1hKVdooKlD

— Daniel Harris (@DanielHarris) December 2, 2022

“What chance we see a late-game Roy-Keane-on-Haaland style leg-breaker hard-but-fair challenge on Luis Suarez today, Rob?” writes Justin Kavanagh. “You know and I know that’s what everyone in Ghana and most of the rest of us nobody in football wants to see.”


“Guess that’s the World Cup for you,” says Joe Pearson. “Goals given by the Hand of God, taken away by the Hands of the Devil.”

Heh. I think Suarez called it the hand of god at the time as well.

The other game in this group is South Korea v Portugal, which only becomes relevant to this match if South Korea win. Barry Glendenning is all over it.

The story so far

Ghana have been all sorts of fun. They lost 3-2 to Portugal in a thriller, then beat South Korea by the same score.

Uruguay started with a 0-0 draw and were a bit unfortunate to lose 2-0 to Portugal. Scoring a goal today would be a big start.

The permutations

Ghana A win against Uruguay will put Ghana through. A draw will be enough unless South Korea beat Portugal, in which case Ghana must hope South Korea pull off only a one goal victory, otherwise the Asian side will pip them on goal difference.

Uruguay must win, and hope that South Korea do not win against Portugal. If both Uruguay and South Korea win, then their relative goal differences will decide who qualifies. Uruguay start with a goal difference one worse than South Korea, so would have to beat Ghana by more than South Korea beat Portugal.

(With thanks to Martin Belam)

Team news: Suarez starts

Of course he does. He replaces Edinson Cavani in one of three changes from the defeat to Portugal. Giorgian de Arrasceta and Facundo Pellistri are in for Diego Godin and Matis Vecino, which probably means a switch to a back four. And with Godin out of the side, Suarez will take over as Uruguay captain. Of course he will.

Two changes for Ghana, both at full-back. Alidu Seidu and Baba Rahman replace Tariq Lamptey and Gideon Mensah.

Ghana (possible 4-2-3-1) Ati-Zigi; Seidu, Amartey, Salisu, Rahman; Partey, Abdul Samed; Kudus, J Ayew, A Ayew; Williams.
Substitutes: Ibrahim, Nurudeen, Lamptey, Odoi, Owusu, Issahaku, Kyereh, Bukari, Afriyie, Mensah, Aidoo, Sulemana, Djiku, Sowah, Semenyo.

Uruguay (possible 4-4-2) Rochet; Varela, Gimenez, Coates, Oliveira; Pellistri, Valverde, Bentancur, De Arrascaeta; Suarez, Nunez.
Substitutes: Muslera, Sosa, Godin, Vecino, De La Cruz, Torreira, Vina, Gomez, Torres, Cavani, Caceres, Canobbio. Ugarte, Rodriguez

Referee Daniel Siebert (Germany)



Great rivalries are supposed to develop over time. Ghana v Uruguay is different. They’ve only ever played each other once, in the quarter-final of the 2010 World Cup, but it was a uniquely astonishing game that created an instant rivalry.

I’m sure you know what happened: Ghana were about to score a 120th-minute winner, and became the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, when Luis Suarez pushed Dominic Adiyiah’s header off the line with both hands. He was sent off, Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty, Uruguay won the subsequent shootout and Suarez danced on Ghana’s grave.

Twelve years on, here they are again. Only one team can go through to the last 16 (there’s a small chance they’ll both go out, but we’ll come to that), which means another fight to the death.

Suarez, the greatest World Cup villain since Diego Maradona, seems to be cruising for a bruising; he appeared at a press conference yesterday and pointedly declined to apologise for the handball. He probably has a point – I suspect 99 per cent of footballers would do the same thing in his position. The biting, on the other hand; that’s his own little foible.

If Ghana win today, they will close the book on Suarez’s World Cup career. He, and Uruguay, are unlikely to go quietly.

Kick off, and it surely will 3pm GMT, 6pm in Al Rayyan, 3pm in Accra, midday in Montevideo.


Rob Smyth

The GuardianTramp

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