Penalty kick played a crucial role in Ghana’s campaign at Qatar 2022. First, it was a controversial penalty kick in their home match with South Africa that launched the Black Stars into the play-off where they met Nigeria.
A penalty kick awarded against Ghana in the first leg which was overturned by VAR was the saving grace.
In the second leg in Abuja Nigeria had to depend on the lottery of penalty kick to avert a possible home defeat.
Here in Doha, penalty kick played a role as Portugal’s opening goal was by penalty kick.
Today, Ghana face Uruguay in a grudge encounter as the Black Stars loss to the South American side was hinged on inability to convert penalty kicks. Twelve years ago in South Africa, with the scores level at 1-1 and the game approaching the final seconds of extra time, Suárez blocked a goal-bound winner on the line with his hands.
It was a goal that would have put Ghana into the World Cup semifinal, making it the first African team in history to reach the final four.
Instead, Suárez was sent off, but Asamoah Gyan, Ghana’s star man and captain, missed the penalty.
Images of Suárez wildly celebrating the miss in the tunnel became one of the enduring moments of that World Cup and only further angered the already incandescent Ghanaian supporters.
Ghana went on to lose the subsequent penalty shootout and with it the team’s chance at creating history.
Now, ahead of the first meeting between these sides since that memorable night more than 12 years ago, Suárez insists he has nothing to say sorry for.
“I don’t apologize about that … but the player is gonna miss a penalty,” Suárez told reporters in the buildup to the rematch, per Reuters. “Maybe, I can say [I] apologize if I injure the player and take a red card.
“But in this situation, I take a red card and the ref said penalty. This is not my fault because I didn’t miss. It’s not my responsibility to shoot the penalty.”
Time heals all wounds, as the saying goes, but that clearly hasn’t been the case with Ghana’s feelings towards Suárez. In the wake of the Black Stars’ dramatic 3-2 win over South Korea at Qatar 2022, jubilant fans outside Education City Stadium were already calling out El Pistolero.