Luis Suarez stressed he will not apologize for his handball in Uruguay’s 2010 World Cup quarter-final against Ghana as the two teams prepare to meet again on Friday.
The clash at the tournament in South Africa 12 years ago saw Suarez sent off in the dying moments of extra time, with the score at 1-1, after he handed off a Dominic Adiyiah header off the line.
The resulting penalty was shot into the crossbar by Asamoah Gyan and Uruguay went on to win the ensuing shootout.
Ahead of the Qatar edition’s rematch in the final round of Group H matches, Suarez was asked at a press conference if he ever thought of apologizing to the Ghana team for the incident.
The 35-year-old striker said: “I make no apologies for that because I hand balled but the Ghanaian missed the penalty, not me.
“Maybe I can apologize if I made a tackle, hurt a player and got a red card. But in this situation, I got a red card, the referee said penalty, (and) it’s not my fault, because I didn’t miss the penalty.
“The player who missed the penalty said he would do the same in this situation. It’s not my responsibility to take the penalty.”
Suarez was then asked if he had any thoughts, with Ghana seeking revenge, what Friday’s match might be like for him, to which he replied: “No, I haven’t thought much about it.
“I don’t know what people are saying, if they say that, revenge. But the players who play tomorrow might be eight years old then.
“Some people might say ‘the devil himself’, ‘did that’… We can’t get things wrong.
“We won against Portugal in 2018 (in the round of 16 of the World Cup) – did we hear the Portuguese say ‘we need revenge’? No.
“What I did with (Italian 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 keep thinking about the past and just focus on revenge.”
Uruguay boss Diego Alonso was asked if he would like Suarez to do the same on Friday and said: “Every game is different. I don’t think we will experience a situation like that. So let’s just focus on playing a good game.”
The matter was then brought up to Ghana boss Otto Addo, who said: “If the same incident happened in reverse and Ghana proceeded to the semi-finals, everyone would say ‘OK, it’s normal for a player to do everything he can to help the his team’.
“So for me, it’s not a big topic. This is what I wish for every player: to do everything possible to help his team, sometimes even sacrificing himself with a red card.
“It was a very sad day, even for me – I watched it and I was so sad. But this is my perspective. If I see it from another perspective, it’s normal.
“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 definitely want to win, but if it’s not Uruguay, it doesn’t matter who they are, 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 can’t wait”.
Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey said: “What happened a few years ago will always be the story that is in our minds but this is a completely different match.
“We have different players, different qualities, 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.”
Ghana have a chance to advance and end Uruguay’s round of 16 hopes. The African side are currently second in the group with three points, while Alonso’s side are bottom with one. Portugal, already qualified, top the group with six and South Korea are third with one.