“I didn’t miss the penalty”

Luis Suarez feels no need to apologize for his handball against Ghana 12 years ago as he hopes to propel Uruguay to the round of 16 of the World Cup.

After taking a point from their opening two games in Qatar, Uruguay must beat Ghana on Friday to progress to Group H.

However, the match at Al Janoub Stadium is something of a bitter match, at least from the point of view of Ghanaian fans.

While Black Stars coach Otto Addo has insisted Ghana will not be out for revenge, Suarez has been a hugely unpopular figure in the African nation since running the line to deny Dominic Adiyiah an extra-time goal by a World Cup quarter-final tie in 2010.

Suarez was sent off, but Asamoah Gyan hit the bar from the ensuing penalty kick, with Uruguay progressing to the semi-finals by winning the shoot-out.

The former Liverpool and Barcelona star never thought to apologise.

“I make no apologies for that,” he said at a news conference.

“I did the hand ball, but the Ghanaian player missed a penalty, not me.

“Maybe I could apologize if I hurt the player, but in this situation I was sent off, the referee said penalty – it’s not my fault, because I didn’t miss the penalty.

“It’s not my responsibility to score the penalty.”

When Suarez was told Ghana, who could go through with a point, could be even more motivated if they play in what could be their last World Cup match, the 35-year-old suggested the obsession with revenge is unhealthy.

“I haven’t thought about it. I don’t know what people are saying or if they want revenge,” she replied.

“The players who could play tomorrow might have been eight then, will they be motivated? Some people might call me the Devil.

“We beat Portugal in 2018, did you hear the Portuguese say they needed revenge because we lost?”

Suarez also referred to the incident involving Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 World Cup, when the Uruguay forward bit the Italy defender on the shoulder.

“What I did to Chiellini, I was wrong, but then we played together in the Champions League and shook hands,” he added.

“You can’t focus on the past and revenge, it can be counterproductive.”

Uruguay coach Diego Alonso said: “It’s a decisive game for us and that’s what counts, I don’t know if Ghana will want revenge, we respect them and we’ll try to be better to be able to qualify.”

His counterpart Addo, meanwhile, reiterated that Ghanaian minds are not fixated on revenge.

“That’s what I wish for every player, to do everything possible to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup. Maybe sacrifice themselves. That’s my perspective,” he said.

“It was very sad what happened in 2010, but we can’t change that. In general, it’s about perspective,” Addo said.

“If the same incident had happened in reverse, people would have talked about it, so for me it’s not a big topic. We’ll go into the match like everyone else.”

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