World Cup 2022: Luis Suarez unapologetic about 2010 intentional handball ahead of Ghana rematch

No, Luis Suarez is not apologizing for his actions against Ghana in the 2010 World Cup.

Suarez and Uruguay face Ghana in the final round of 2022 World Cup Group H games on Friday. It’s the first matchup between Ghana and Uruguay since that 2010 tournament when Suarez committed an intentional handball to save a goal in extra time of their quarterfinal game.

Suarez’s move turned out to be a genius maneuver. The game was tied and Suarez found himself as the last line of defense between the ball going into the net on a Steven Appiah shot after the Uruguay goalie had come off his line. Suarez threw his arms up to block the ball, knowing full well that the intentional handball would be a red card and result in a penalty kick.

With Suarez sent off, Asamoah Gyan took the penalty for Ghana and hit the crossbar. Uruguay hung on to send the game to penalty kicks and then beat Ghana 4-2 in PKs to advance to the semifinals. Uruguay faced Ghana in the quarterfinals after Ghana beat the United States 2-1 in extra time in the Round of 16.

As you can imagine, there are many people in Ghana who still aren’t over what happened, so Suarez was asked by a Ghanian reporter Thursday at the pre-match news conference if he would apologize for what he did in that game. And as you can imagine, Suarez was unrepentant, especially after he was told by the reporter that some people in Ghana think the striker is the “devil himself.”

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“I did the handball, but the Ghana player missed the penalty, not me,” Suarez said. “Maybe I can say apologize if I did a tackle, injured a player and took a red card, maybe I can say apologize. But in this situation, I take a red card, the ref say penalty, it’s not my fault because I don't miss the penalty.”

While you can still argue a dozen years later if what Suarez did was an ethical sporting move, it’s indisputable that it was the right strategic decision at that point in the game. Appiah’s shot was heading into the back of the net and Uruguay was likely going to get eliminated. By stopping Appiah’s shot from going in, Suarez increased the chances of his team winning the game by committing the foul and getting sent off.

And now Ghana has a great chance to send Uruguay home on Friday. With Portugal already qualified for the knockout rounds, there’s just one Round of 16 spot still available in Group H. And Ghana sits in second with three points while Uruguay is tied for third with South Korea on one. If Ghana wins or ties against Uruguay, the Uruguayans are missing the knockout stages for the first time since 2002 and Ghana is moving on to the knockout rounds for the first time since 2010.

Uruguay's Luis Suarez was asked about his 2010 handball ahead of his team's match against Ghana at the 2022 World Cup on Friday. (Photo by Pablo PORCIUNCULA / AFP) (Photo by PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP via Getty Images)
Uruguay's Luis Suarez was asked about his 2010 handball ahead of his team's match against Ghana at the 2022 World Cup on Friday. (Photo by PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP via Getty Images)