Uruguay legend Luis Suarez refused to apologize Thursday to the Ghanaians for his infamous handball Globalism Cup 12 years ago.
The South Americans face the Africans in a must-win Group H match in Qatar on Friday, a repeat of South Africa’s infamous 2010 quarter-final clash.
Suarez deliberately handled the ball on the line in that tournament to prevent a certain goal from Dominic Adeya’s header at the end of extra time.
Suarez was shown a red card but Asamoah Gyan missed the subsequent penalty kick and Uruguay went on to win the shootout and advance to the semi-finals.
Striker Suarez became an overnight hero in his home country while Ghana missed out on the chance to become the first African team to reach the World Cup semi-finals.
Twelve years later, when asked if he knew Ghanaians viewed him as “the devil”, Suarez said he had no regrets.
“I’m not saying I apologize for that because I had a handball, but the Ghanaian missed the penalty, not me,” Suarez said, speaking in broken English.
“Maybe I can say I apologize if I tackle a player and injure him and get a red card, maybe I can apologize.
“But in this case I received a red card, the referee said ‘penalty kick’. It’s not my fault because I didn’t miss the penalty kick, the player missed the penalty kick.”
There has been much talk since the World Cup draw was made about the possibility of Ghana seeking revenge, and many fans of the African side vented their anger at Suarez ahead of the crucial encounter.
But Suarez insisted that the game was in the past and that there was no point in talking about revenge.
“Those who talk about revenge … they were eight at the time, they only saw it in pictures,” said the 35-year-old former Barcelona and Liverpool striker.
“You can’t misinterpret everything. When we played with Portugal, the players were talking about revenge for their exit (from Uruguay in 2018) but you can’t live in the past.”
Uruguay coach Diego Alonso said there was more at stake for both teams than revenge.
Uruguay must win to have any chance of advancing to the last 16 while Ghana could also be eliminated if not victorious.
“I don’t know how Ghana is going to handle it, whether it’s revenge or not,” said Alonso.
“For us it’s a decisive match, that’s what matters to us. We do our best, we respect our opponents, but we don’t look at it that way.”
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