IThere is no hiding in the stadium of al-Wakrah. Luis Suarez had to realize that painfully. The Uruguay striker began to shed tears when the stadium camera caught him and showed him in close-up on the video cube. Cheers immediately erupted from the Ghanaian block, the African fans had not forgotten what had happened twelve years ago.
At the 2010 World Cup, Suarez prevented Ghana from reaching the semi-finals with a last-minute handball. The atmosphere had been correspondingly heated beforehand, and the glee was correspondingly great. The game was still going on, but Suarez already knew it would be his last for the national team. Uruguay won 2-0 against Ghana, but both were eliminated as South Korea beat Portugal 2-1 with a late goal in the parallel game. Uruguay, tied on points, ended up missing a goal.
Siebert denied two penalties
The South Americans had identified the culprit in the person of the German referee Daniel Siebert, who twice denied them a possible penalty. One of them in stoppage time. Siebert found it difficult to get into the dressing room, he was so pressed by the angry players. Uruguay were frustrated, but coach Diego Alonso didn’t want to blame the referee for everything. “We had enough chances to score more goals. Unfortunately, we didn’t succeed,” he said.
However, he could not resist a verbal dig at the non-transparent penalty decisions. “We didn’t get eliminated because of the things that happened today. We were eliminated because of the penalty we got against Portugal. It leaves a bitter aftertaste,” he said. In the second group game, the Iranian referee awarded a dubious penalty in injury time, which Bruno Fernandes converted. The offense was minor, and FIFA said afterwards that it wasn’t a penalty, said Alonso.
And now the referee again. Siebert was more in focus than he would have liked. Hardly anyone spoke of Suarez or the two-time goalscorer Giorgian de Arrascaeta afterwards. From Siebert’s point of view, it was at least unfortunate that the most important decisions were all in favor of Ghana.
It started with a penalty in the middle of the first half. Goalkeeper Sergio Rochet blocked a shot from Jordan Ayew but couldn’t save it. As he reached for the ball, the oncoming Mohammed Kudus happily accepted the offer to make a cut. Siebert initially decided to continue playing, but corrected his decision after the intervention of the video assistant Bastian Dankert. That could be discussed.
The excitement continued in the second half as Ghana defender Daniel Amartey brought down Darwin Nunes. Siebert decided to continue playing, was notified again by the video assistant – and to everyone’s surprise, he didn’t give a penalty even after looking at the pictures several times. The offense in this case was clearer than in the first.
It was incomprehensible that there was not even a review of the scene in injury time where Edinson Cavani fell through Seidu’s attack. Ghana’s coach Otto Addo, on the other hand, said: “The referee did a very good job.” The statement was not surprising, but had nothing in common with a neutral point of view.
It was not Addo’s fault that Siebert made such debatable decisions or that Andrew Ayew missed the disputed penalty (21′). The shooter delayed his approach for a long time, Rochet had no trouble deflecting the ball.
The break in Ghana’s game was clearly visible. Darwin Nunes came close to taking the lead, but his lob was cleared in front of the line by Mohammed Salisu (23′). Shortly thereafter, Uruguay celebrated for the first time at this World Cup and it almost was Suarez of all people who scored in front of the Ghanaian fan base. Lawrence Zigi parried his shot and de Arrascaeta pushed the rebound over the line (26′).
More notable was the second goal by the midfielder, who is employed by Flamengo in Brazil. He took a high pass from Suarez straight out of the air, Zigi had no chance to defend himself (32′). Uruguay were in the round of 16 at the time but knew the threat of a South Korean victory – and in the end things did indeed go against them.