Luis Suarez stressed he would not be apologising for his handball in Uruguay’s 2010 World Cup quarter-final against Ghana as the sides prepare to meet again on Friday.
The clash at the tournament in South Africa 12 years ago saw Suarez sent off in the final moments of extra-time, with the score at 1-1, after keeping out a Dominic Adiyiah header on the line with his hands.
The resulting penalty was struck against the bar by Asamoah Gyan, and Uruguay then won the subsequent shoot-out.
Ahead of the rematch at the Qatar edition in the final round of Group H matches, Suarez was asked at a press conference if he had ever thought about apologising to the Ghana team for the incident.
The 35-year-old forward said: “I don’t apologise about that because I did the handball, but the Ghana player missed the penalty, not me.
“Maybe I can say an apology if I did a tackle, injured a player, and took a red card. But in this situation, I took a red card, the ref said penalty, (and) it’s not my fault, because I didn’t miss the penalty.
“The player who missed the penalty, he said he would do the same in this situation. It’s not my responsibility, to shoot the penalty.”
Suarez was then asked if he had thought, with Ghana looking for revenge, what the game on Friday could be like for him, and he said: “No, I haven’t really thought about this.
“I don’t know what people are saying, whether they are saying this, revenge. But players that will play tomorrow might be eight years old back then.
“Some people might say ‘the devil himself’, ‘he did that’… We can’t misunderstand things.
“We won against Portugal in 2018 (in the World Cup last 16) – have we heard Portuguese people saying ‘we need revenge’? No.
“What I did with (Italy’s 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 just keep thinking about the past and just focus on revenge.”
Uruguay boss Diego Alonso was asked if he would want Suarez to do the same on Friday, and said: “Every match is different. I don’t think we will experience a similar situation to that one. So let’s just focus on playing a good game.”
The topic was then put to Ghana boss Otto Addo, who said: “If the same incident happened the other way around and Ghana proceeded to the semi-finals, everyone would say ‘OK, it’s normal that a player would do anything he can to help his team’.
“So for me, it’s not a big topic. This is what I wish from every player – to do all he can to help his team, sometimes even sacrifice himself with a red card.
“It was a very sad day, for me also – I watched it and was so sad. But this is my perspective. If I see it from another perspective, it’s a normal thing.
“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 surely want to win, but if it wasn’t Uruguay, no matter who it is, 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’re looking forward.”
Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey said: “What happened some years ago will be always history that is in our mind, but this is a total different game.
“We have different players, different quality, 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 the chance to advance and end Uruguay’s last-16 hopes. The African side are currently second in the group with three points, while Alonso’s team are bottom with one. Already-qualified Portugal lead the pool with six, and South Korea are third with one.