Why do Ghana hate Uruguay so much? Why is Luis Suarez known as the devil? 2010 World Cup explanation ahead of Qatar showdown

Ghana and Uruguay meet in the World Cup on Friday afternoon in what is a repeat of a bad-tempered match in 2010 that has left lasting scars in the African nation.

Luis Suarez of Uruguay handles the ball on the goal line, for which he is sent off, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Quarter Final match between Uruguay and Ghana at the Soccer City stadium on July 2, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Luis Suarez of Uruguay handles the ball on the goal line, for which he is sent off, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Quarter Final match between Uruguay and Ghana at the Soccer City stadium on July 2, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The clash at the tournament in South Africa 12 years ago in the quarter-final stage saw Suarez sent off in the final moments of extra-time, with the score at 1-1, after keeping out a Dominic Adiyiah header on the line with his hands. The resulting penalty was struck against the bar by Asamoah Gyan, and Uruguay then won the subsequent shoot-out.

It has led to years of bitterness from the Ghanaians towards the Uruguayans, with Suarez labelled as the “devil himself” by many in their country. Suarez could play a part when the match kicks off at 4pm, with Uruguay needing to beat Ghana to reach the knock-out stages. A draw could be enough for Ghana, currently in second place, depending on the result between South Korea and Portugal.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What Luis Suarez had to say ahead of the match

“I don’t apologise about that because I did the handball, but the Ghana player missed the penalty, not me. Maybe I can say an apology if I did a tackle, injured a player, and took a red card. But in this situation, I took a red card, the ref said penalty, (and) it’s not my fault, because I didn’t miss the penalty. The player who missed the penalty, he said he would do the same in this situation. It’s not my responsibility, to shoot the penalty. I don’t know what people are saying, whether they are saying this, revenge. But players that will play tomorrow might be eight years old back then. Some people might say ‘the devil himself’, ‘he did that’… We can’t misunderstand things. We won against Portugal in 2018 (in the World Cup last 16) – have we heard Portuguese people saying ‘we need revenge’? No. What I did with (Italy’s Giorgio) Chiellini (when he bit the defender at the 2014 World Cup) – I played against him afterwards. I made a mistake, and then we shook hands. You can’t just keep thinking about the past and just focus on revenge.”

What Ghana coach Otto Addo had to say ahead of the match

“If the same incident happened the other way around and Ghana proceeded to the semi-finals, everyone would say ‘OK, it’s normal that a player would do anything he can to help his team’. So for me, it’s not a big topic. This is what I wish from every player – to do all he can to help his team, sometimes even sacrifice himself with a red card. It was a very sad day, for me also – I watched it and was so sad. But this is my perspective. If I see it from another perspective, it’s a normal thing. It’s not a normal game because the public is making it different, but for me it’s a normal game. We want to qualify for the next stage, we surely want to win, but if it wasn’t Uruguay, no matter who it is, we want to win and have a good game. For us, what happened in 2010 was very sad, but we can’t change it and we’re looking forward.”

What Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey had to say ahead of the match

“What happened some years ago will be always history that is in our mind, but this is a total different game. We have different players, different quality, they have a lot of quality players with a lot of experience, and we just have to work harder and try to get what we want to get.”