Accra, Ghana – Ghana and Uruguay meet in World Cup 2022 with an added significance for each side.
Whereas La Celeste, at present sitting backside of the desk, want a large win to undergo, a win or draw by the Black Stars will knock their opponents out of the 2022 World Cup.
For tens of millions of Ghanaians – and different Africans – the latter end result can be predestined destiny due to a 12-year-old grudge from the final aggressive assembly between the 2 sides, on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
After a 1-1 draw between each side, Ghana went on to lose 4-2 in a penalty shootout. However given the drama within the recreation, they felt aggrieved.
Followers are hoping that the Black Stars can take their pound of flesh, particularly as veteran Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, the chief antagonist in that recreation, continues to be concerned for his aspect.
“I haven’t forgotten about that recreation,” Accra-based fan Enoch Kofi Boakye instructed Al Jazeera. “It harm me in 2010 and even in any case these years, it nonetheless hurts after I keep in mind what Suarez did.”
Suarez himself has added flames to the fireplace by calling the match in opposition to Ghana a do-or-die one. “We’re going to put our lives and soul on this final match,” he mentioned earlier this week.
“Ghana is an effective workforce however we all know them, we now have crushed them earlier than and we all know the right way to beat them once more.”
‘We … misplaced on such vicious phrases’
Of the 5 African groups current – hosts South Africa included – when the continent first hosted the match in 2010, solely the Black Stars went from the group stage, reaching the quarter-finals for the second time (the 2010 World Cup was the one time Ghana reached the quarter-finals) of their second look on the World Cup.
So, after they finally tumbled in opposition to Uruguay, the temper throughout the continent deflated.
Ghana put in such good performances that they had been beginning to make individuals imagine. Having certified from a bunch that contained Germany, Serbia, and Australia, the Black Stars dispatched the USA within the spherical of 16.
That arrange a date with Uruguay within the quarter-finals. Within the first half, the workforce secured a lead following a 35-yard belter from Sulley Muntari. However that was pretty much as good because it received.
A well-drilled Uruguay restored parity after the break, because of Diego Forlan’s dipping free-kick, and they’d go on to knock Ghana out of the match through penalties.
In all these, two names stole the headlines: star ahead Asamoah Gyan for lacking a penalty within the final minute of additional time that might have seen Ghana develop into the primary African workforce to succeed in the final 4 of the World Cup, and Suarez, for stopping a goal-bound effort from striker Dominic Adiyiah within the 119th minute along with his hand.
Regardless that Suarez was red-carded for that, his wild celebrations on the touchline when Gyan hit the crossbar from 12 yards made him a villain for tens of millions of Ghanaians however a hero again in South America.
Forward of Friday’s recreation, Suarez has additionally refused to apologise.
“The feelings from that night time are nonetheless recent. Actually, it nonetheless hurts,” mentioned Daniel Koranteng, a sports activities journalist with Accra-based Citi TV. “Ghanaians will always remember Suarez. It might’ve been simpler to forgive had it been a sort out within the field. However the truth that he denied Ghana a transparent goal-bound effort, successfully turning Asamoah Gyan right into a villain, is one thing that may’t be forgiven.”
“It was just like the 5 levels of grief,” soccer fan Francis Gbeddy instructed Al Jazeera. “The acceptance stage – to just accept that we had simply misplaced on such vicious phrases – took very lengthy to come back.”
Gyan’s expensive penalty miss continues to divide opinion amongst Ghanaians, a few of whom are but to forgive him. Infrequently, the veteran striker receives criticism for failing to transform that penalty. In an interview with the BBC in August, Gyan mentioned he let down his nation and the entire continent.
“I needed to attain for my nation and for the entire of Africa,” Gyan mentioned. “I couldn’t bury the ball and I really feel I let everyone down. Typically I ask myself questions. [If people say they felt pain], what about me who was on the sphere and missed the penalty? How did I really feel?”
“If I hadn’t shot that penalty [in the shootout], that might’ve been the top of my profession as a result of the primary one was a mistake that occurred and I needed to redeem myself with the second,” he added. “[That moment] Nonetheless haunts me. Typically I want there’d be a second likelihood for me to vindicate myself.”
‘That is revenge time’
Destiny appears to have now offered that second likelihood, the suitable second to avenge what stays in all probability essentially the most heartbreaking second in trendy soccer historical past for the West Africans.
Though the stakes aren’t as excessive as they had been in South Africa, there’s nonetheless no love misplaced between them. Each groups are paired in a difficult group that additionally comprises Portugal and South Korea who’re in first and third place within the group, respectively.
To succeed in the knockout rounds, Uruguay have to defeat Ghana and pray that South Korea don’t overcome Portugal. However even within the case of an upset by the Asians, Uruguay’s successful margin over Ghana must be a minimum of two targets greater than that of the Taegeuk Warriors.
With the chances seemingly in favour of the Black Stars this time, many followers can’t anticipate what they think about karma to occur to Suarez and firm.
Theophilus Addy was solely an adolescent in the course of the World Cup in South Africa, however can’t shake off his disappointment from that recreation. “Suarez and Uruguay need to really feel precisely what we felt in 2010. Even when Ghana doesn’t qualify from the group, we should beat them,” he mentioned.
Eliminating Uruguay on the group levels “will likely be justice”, Koranteng concurred. “Let’s make Suarez’s closing reminiscence on the World Cup a painful defeat by the hands of the workforce he stole so cruelly from.”
Some followers don’t see a victory as satisfactory revenge provided that the stakes are significantly decrease right here. However that doesn’t matter to Boakye, who needs his nation to have the final giggle and make sure that Suarez who faces near-certain retirement after this match, bows out on a tragic word.
“I can’t even start to think about Ghana dropping once more,” he instructed Al Jazeera. “The GFA [Ghanaian Football Association] should present the gamers movies from the 2010 recreation and the way Ghanaians cried. That is revenge time.”
“It’s good that Ghana will play them within the final group recreation,” Boakye added. “That manner, we are able to beat them and in addition knock them out of the World Cup.”