Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Victory over Ghana fails to secure qualification
Luis Suarez pulled his shirt over his head, hiding his face from the world, as the tears flowed down his cheeks and his shoulders shook with despair. Here was one of the great pantomime villains of our time, reduced to a sobbing wreck against the country where he is widely regarded as “the devil himself”.
Ghana had reason for their own disappointment, having also failed to qualify from this World Cup group, but the devil’s tears must have tasted deliciously sweet for a nation scarred by the anguish of 2010.
When Suarez’s aghast face was shown on the big screens here, the sight of his suffering prompted a cheer of genuine, unashamed relish from Ghana’s supporters. They were going down, yes. But at least they were dragging Suarez and Uruguay with them.
This World Cup has delivered some remarkable storylines already and few are more enthralling than the fact that Uruguay were knocked out of the competition because of a goal scored by South Korea, in the 91st minute of a different match in a different stadium.
The emotion of it all proved too much to bear for Suarez, who knows there will be no more World Cups for him, and as the truth sunk in he seemed to melt into his grief. “Before the game, I thought that my youngest son had seen me in my fourth World Cup, but he did not see me win a game,” said Suarez. “We won, but he leaves with the image of sadness.”
The pain was made worse, surely, by the fact that Suarez had done all he could to send Uruguay through. It was his turn and shot that led to Giorgian de Arrascaeta’s first goal, and his wonderful pass — flicked over his shoulder — that created De Arrascaeta’s second. He was rolling back the years in the first half, even producing a nutmeg reminiscent of his days at Liverpool and Barcelona.
Perhaps it was also Suarez’s sheer presence on the pitch that so disturbed Andre Ayew, the Ghana captain who had the opportunity to exorcise the demons of 2010 but instead found himself burdened by the weight of history. Suarez’s infamous handball and the subsequent penalty failures had cost Ghana back then. Their inability from the spot here, against the same loathed opponent, cost them once more as Ayew’s tame effort was saved.
Such was the soap opera-esque drama of the evening, there was even the possibility of another twist in the last few seconds. Suarez’s tears were puddling beneath his feet on the bench but his team-mates were fighting on, desperate to score a third.
In these chaotic last minutes, Darwin Nunez and Edinson Cavani both went to ground in expectation of a penalty. Another goal would have sent Uruguay through, ahead of a South Korea team that had stunned Portugal elsewhere, but referee Daniel Siebert turned down both appeals.
Suarez, now 35, was drained and exasperated. Some of his team-mates, however, felt only rage. Siebert was effectively chased down the tunnel by a pack of four frothing Uruguayans, with José María Giménez having to be held back by his own team-mates. Later, in his press conference, head coach Diego Alonso continued the theme by complaining about a penalty awarded to Portugal in their game last week.
For Suarez, this will surely be the end of him on the global stage. He is now playing for Nacional in Uruguay and evidently no longer has the fitness required to compete at full intensity for 90 minutes. If this was his final flourish in front of the watching world, the people of Ghana will be delighted that it ended in such misery for him.
For months now, ever since the draw was made, Ghana have been craving revenge for the events of 2010, when they were so close to becoming the first African side to reach the last four of a World Cup. Even the country’s president has stoked the flames, vowing earlier this year that Uruguay “are going down”.
In the face of all this vitriol, Suarez delivered a gorgeously blunt press conference in advance of the game. “The Ghana player missed a penalty” he said, after refusing to apologise for his handball. “Not me.”
It felt typical of Suarez that he would go on to thwart Ghana again, as he did in the first half after Ayew had missed from 12 yards. Suarez was at his scrappy, skilful, snarling best in those moments. If he wasn’t pulling the Ghanaian defenders out of position, he was earning free-kicks — some more legitimate than others — and helping his team up the field.
But just as Uruguay had the knockout stage in their grasp, thanks to De Arrascaeta, it was snatched away from them by South Korea. By the time they realised what had happened at Education City Stadium, it was effectively too late. Cavani, Nunez and Federico Valverde all charged forward to no avail, as their two penalty appeals were rejected.
By this stage, Suarez was just a spectator. The cameras zoomed in, searching for his torment, and nothing could prevent the tears from forming.
Mass consolation needed at the Al Janoub Stadium
No shortage of controversy
To recap, that's:
A penalty awarded, a penalty missed by the only member of the starting XI who was at the match in 2010, one goal, another in quick succession, three checks on the Var monitor, eighteen or so minutes total added time, four crucial saves in the final ten minutes, one divisive red-eyed legend roaring on the sidelines, and seven yellow cards... two given as (after, really) the whistle blew.
And neither team left happy.
South Korea are the third team from the Asian Confederation
... to reach the Round of 16, alongside Japan, and Australia, a World Cup record.
Were Uruguay hoodwinked out of a late penalty?
🗣️ "For me it was a penalty."
🗣️ "There's definite contact"
Mauricio Pochettino, @rioferdy5 and @alanshearer were all surprised that Uruguay weren't awarded a late penalty against Ghana.#BBCWorldCup #BBCFootball pic.twitter.com/uDdXLnlVVh
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2022
Now the dust has settled somewhat, who comes out on top in your player ratings?
How Group H finishes
Portugal - 6pts
South Korea - 4pts
Uruguay - 4pts
Ghana - 3pts
South Korea edge out Uruguay on goals scored. It was too little, too late for Uruguay, who only opened their account in today's final group stage match.
Frantic, furious, final minutes for Uruguay
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2022
Suarez is consoled on the bench by team-mates, visions of a barnstorming run in his final World Cup disintegrating before his eyes.
He makes his way to the pitch, red-eyed, to mix desolately with other players who know this tournament will be there last: Diego Godin, Edinson Cavani...
Meanwhile, at the Education City Stadium...
South Korea have been waiting for six minutes for a verdict on their face, and when they finally here the place is their's, the team explodes into unchecked celebration!
FULL TIME AS BOTH TEAMS ARE KNOCKED OUT: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
The ball flies right to Ati-Zigi's hands!
The whistle blows!
Both Ghana and Uruguay are out! On the sidelines, Suarez begins to weep, covering his face with a shirt.
The cards are pulled out by the referee as Uruguay players pursue Siebert down the tunnel. Mass unhappiness at the Al Janoub.
90+8 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Ghana make a final change, Issahaku coming on for Kudus.
Varela sends a desperate cross in from the right just over the halfway line, but Ghana smother the possibility, and whip the ball back up into Uruguay's half. But the ball is run offside, and Rochet has a free kick to take.
Final chance for Uruguay! Seidu is shown a yellow card after hacking down Gomez, and the positioning is extremely promising, just over 25 yards out. De La Cruz to take.
90+6 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Suelemana picks up a nicely falling ball on the right edge of the box and fires it at Rochet, who makes another terrific save. Hearts are pumping around the stadium, both sets of fans caught in various stages of agony.
Cavani sends a breathless pass across the box to Coates, which he fires right past goal. Cavani may regret not seizing the strike for himself. Suarez, renting at his shirt on the sidelines, certainly regrets it.
90+4 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Seidu can breathe a sigh of relief, but it certainly wasn't a clear cut foul. Under enormous pressure, Ati-Zigi leaps to end this Uruguay assault, clutching the ball to his chest.
Kyereh manages to wriggle through into the box, looking to set up Kudus for the strike, but it takes a block, and quick as a flash, Uruguay are sprinting again. Gomez has the final shot, which Ati-Zigi stretches and drives to save.
90+2 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Coates picks up a header in the box, but it can't get much further after the ball is booted out by Ghana. Valverde ushers the ball forward next, but Ghana lock up and defend well enough for Kudus to streak away, setting up a pacey Ghana attack. Semenyo who receives the ball is blocked, but he's offside regardless.
As play sprints back towards Ghana's goal, Cavani on the run battles with Seidu, and both players go down in the box! Penalty? No! Play is waved on.
90 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Suarez's desperate face is shown onscreen in the stadium, to a loud chorus of boos.
Another eight added minutes. One more goal for Uruguay, and they progress, as the whistle blows on South Korea's win over Portugal.
89 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Throwing everything up towards Ghana's goal, Uruguay surge forwards. Cavani gets on the end of a towering header, earmarking the ball for goal, but Ati-Zigi pulls off a heroic save. He goes down for a spell however, after falling awkwardly.
Cavani was offside regardly.
87 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Sulemana on the run is toppled by Coates, who accepts the inevitable yellow card almost gleefully. Sulemana is later handed a yellow card as he waits for Ghana's free kick.
It curves well, but there's too much on it, and the ball goes behind the far post before Salisu can bully it in.
85 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Uruguay look to spend a spell in Ghana's half, but a Canobbio pass flies to Partey, who runs the ball over the halfway line.
Meanwhile, South Korea have gone ahead of Portugal, which would mean South Korea go through on goal difference!
On the bench, Suarez looks agonised.
83 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
A long throw-in is taken with designs on the box, but none of the white-shirted Ghana players can make something of it. A nervy spell for Uruguay ends with the ball firmly clasped in Rochet's hands.
81 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Two changes for Uruguay: Nunez off for Gomez, and the two-goal hero De Arrascaeta comes off for Canobbio.
De La Cruz loses the ball on the edge of the box, and Kudus takes a little rebound to fire at goal, and Rochet stretches to make an important save! Ghana are so close to getting something, and yet nothing comes off. Nor gain they gain ground from the corner.
79 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Sulemana twists and turns to break past Varela, who slips keeping up with him on the left side of the box. He eventually lifts the ball up high for Bukari at the far post, but Olivera keeps close.
Semenyo picks up the ball just inside the box and slides the ball just wide of the far post, Ghana coming inches closer than they have all day.
77 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Coates manages to head the ball out for a Uruguay break, Nunez streaking down the left, but Seidu keeps the pressure up and Nunez far from threatening. Ghana whip the ball up, but Cavani sneaks the ball back just as they reach the edge of Uruguay's box.
Valverde looks to send a high-flying lob over the top of wandering Ati-Ziga, but the effort clears the goal and in the back netting.
75 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Ghana's substitutions have sparkled in these past few moments and made them look much livelier and less cowed by the penalty miss, but do they have enough time for a famous comeback? Both of their previous Group H matches ended 3-2, and fans will be urging for more of the same.
Ghana win a corner after Sulemana's running ball was defended out.
73 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Changes for Ghana: Abdul Samed and Williams off, Kyereh and Bristol City's Semenyo come on.
71 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Valverde unleashes a rocket off a defended-out ball which flies to the Real Madrid man 30 yards out, forcing Ati-Zigi into a superlative save.
At the other end, Kudus has his own attempt, winding through sky blue shirts to shoot just over Rochet's goal.
69 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Partey picks up a carelessly-passed Uruguay ball, as Ghana flood forward, but can only get as far as 10 yards off the left corner, the ball muscled out for a throw. It goes long, and the ball is muddled out for a corner.
Rahman sends in the corner which glances of a Uruguayan head to come down for Partey, but he misplays the ball gently into Rochet's hands, missing the opportunity to send in a teeth-rattler.
67 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Williams slides through the middle of the pitch, setting up Kudus, but the ball streaks to Varela, and Kudus concedes a free kick trying to win it back.
65 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Olivera picks up Nunez's cute pass to run in from the edge of the box, setting up Pellistri alongside him to fire at goal. The ball jinks just past the near post to nestle in the back netting.
Two changes for Uruguay: Cavani on, and Suarez off, and De La Cruz replaces Pellistri.
63 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Varela digs out Sulemana to grant Ghana a free kick, inching them further inside Uruguay's half. Sulemana sends in a curly, diagonal cross into the box, but it's a shade too high for Bukari, going hell for leather to the far post before skidding out of play.
60 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
After a long spell in front of the monitor, Siebert runs back onto the pitch: no penalty! Nunez's control was deemed to be a handball.
Suarez picks up a yellow card, somewhat inevitably, after a crafty challenge in the midfield, and Siebert doesn't hesitate to give it, quick as a flash.
58 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
As play spins down to the other half, Nunez is brought down in the box collecting a ball by a clumsy challenge from Amartey. Now this one might stick...
Two things: first of all, Nunez might have controlled the ball down with a touch from his arm, and then there's Amartey's challenge, which does immediately catch the eye as a penalty.
But what will Var tell us?
56 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Uruguay plays their intentions offside, squandering the opportunity.
Salisu sends a long ball just over the line in Ghana's half to a running Sulemana who manages to stay on side, but he's clattered by Rochet on his route to goal. It looks a little suspicious, but there are no major appeals, nor does Var intervene.
54 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Abdul Samed lifts the ball into the box, but as the ball is forced back by a deep-lying Uruguay, he gives away an accidental handball.
Uruguay win a free kick, but not without incident, as the referee sharply ends a brief squabble with Vecino.
Suarez on the ball goes down at the hands of Salisu, coming in from behind, winning a free kick in front of goal from just over 35 yards out.
52 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Seidu nicks the ball off De Arrascueta, and Olivera winds up tussling to win back possession, gifting Ghana a free kick as they edge gradually up-field.
Partey loses the ball inside Uruguay's half, but a moment of carelessness from Varela, under siege from Williams, sends things Ghana's way.
50 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Bukari again looks to cause trouble in the box, putting Uruguay under pressure, but the ball spills out to the left, where the ball is lost for a Uruguay throw.
Ghana again make ground threatening their opponents, Williams shimmying around the edge of the box, but Uruguay lock up and force a goal kick.
48 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Partey whips the ball away from Uruguayan feet to send the ball towards Sulemana. He can't find a way through, sending the ball back, as Ghana look to build up a bank of possession.
But the ball goes back loose and Pellistri on the right sets up a running Nunez, who breaks and looks for Suarez with his final cross. A touch too much power means the captain misses out.
46 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Bukari immediately makes an impact, collecting a curling ball in the box. He clatters it goalwards, but the imperfect start doesn't find its mark. Kudus can't get close enough to poke the ball in, either.
Some punchy changes for Ghana, who opt to replace both Jordan and Andre Ayew with Bukari and Sulemana taking their places.
Let's get underway, shall we?
As De Arrascaeta's star has risen, who from this Ghana team, now firmly on the backfoot, hasn't made the grade? Share your player ratings here:
Giorgian de Arrascaeta's stunning second
Giorgian de Arrascaeta is at the double! 🔥
Uruguay are well on their way to breaking Ghanaian hearts once again! #GHA 0-2 #URU
📺 Watch on @BBCiPlayer listen on @BBCSounds and get more on the @BBCSport app 📲 pic.twitter.com/d8Sk8cYThe
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2022
Sam Dean's half-time thoughts
Ghana have been totally deflated by that penalty miss. Perhaps they genuinely believe they are cursed, forever doomed to be thwarted by Uruguay and Suarez. The Uruguay captain is thoroughly enjoying his role as pantomime villain – he had a hand in both of his team's goals, and he's been playing all the old tricks on the referee.
45+8 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Kudus and Partey team up to try and hold the ball for a spell in the Uruguay half, but they are clung to by Uruguay players, and play is pushed back. Looking to catch Uruguay unawares, Williams sprints into the box to try and get onto a long, looping ball, but the chance goes awry.
The whistle blows on an extremely stormy first half!
45+6 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Pellistri goes down clutching his face in the penalty after catching a stray elbow from Amartey. On closer inspection, the arm is nowhere near Pellistri's face, but the acting keeps it plausible. Siebert clocks the theatrics, and waves play on.
45+4 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Nunez sneaks in from the right, setting up another Uruguay attack which ends with Valverde sprinting a misplayed ball. The ball rolls out for a Ghana throw-in, but Ghana can't make any headway into the Uruguay half.
Varela goes down noisily after getting trapped under Jordan Ayew's foot, winning them a similarly-positioned free kick, which Valverde takes. It smacks Gimenez clean on the head but he can't control it down, and it gets some air over the cross bar.
45+2 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Uruguay are firmly in control now; the thought of going three-behind before half time would surely chill the mood in the Ghanaian stands at the Al Janoub Stadium, but it doesn't look altogether impossible.
45 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
It falls nicely, but skitters out, Suarez running out to pick it up, before the ball is muddled out for a corner. Very little comes of it.
After all the drama, a hefty eight minutes are added on.
43 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
No action taken on that Seidu tackle, as play restarts. Varela is next to be dropped, as he edges down the left, to be met by Partey. Amateur dramatics is not the word, but Uruguay win a free kick all the same, around 30 yards out to the right.
41 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Seidu picks up the ball on the right, and sends in a curving ball destined for the box, but Rochet steps out to make a simple catch.
Ghana edge up the pitch, looking to gain ground in Uruguay's half. Williams plays a diagonal ball forward, but Uruguay are sticking. Kudus gets the ball, looking for back up, and as the ball is played back to Seidu, he goes down, screaming blue murder. He's on the receiving end of a particularly painful-looking stamp, but Suarez, tackled lightly by the halfway line, gets the referee's initial attention.
39 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Pellistri leaps for the ball with Rahman, but can't win the ball. Within moments, however, Uruguay swipe it back, feeding Nunez on the run. His attack is swifty turned inside out, and Ghana look for a break.
37 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Kudus on the run turns past approaching Uruguay defenders and sets up to shoot with his left. The ball takes a knock and flies out for a corner, which is immediately knocked out for a second.
Suarez heads the ball off at the near post, pushing play up the field.
Sam Dean's update from the Al Janoub
Incredible few minutes here. The ghosts of 2010 are still haunting Ghana, and Andre Ayew in particular. He is the only player in this squad who was also part of the 2010 tournament.
34 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Bentancur goes down and stays down, forcing Uruguay to make a substitution: on comes Vecino. The early change might be a bit of bad news for Uruguay, but with the score line as it stands, they don't have too much to frown about at the moment.
Ghana looks utterly bamboozled. They were cagey and cautious before the scoring started, and will now have to wrestle the momentum back in a major way from a rampant Uruguay.
31 min: GOAL! Ghana 0 Uruguay 2
Moments later, they have another! De Arrascaeta gets his second in a matter of moments, after collecting a thoughtful chip from Suarez on the edge of the box. He's well-placed, and his strike is clean!
Uruguay's first goal in the tournament
Uruguay take the lead just minutes after Ghana's penalty miss!
Giorgian de Arrascaeta bundles in after Luis Suarez saw his effort saved!#GHA 0-1 #URU
📺 Watch on @BBCiPlayer listen on @BBCSounds and get more on the @BBCSport app 📲 #BBCWorldCup #BBCFootball pic.twitter.com/ukNesazA0v
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2022
28 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 1
Elsewhere, South Korea have equalised against Portugal. Following the goal scored by Uruguay, Uruguay now move into second place behind Portugal; South Korea's goal doesn't do too much for their prospects.
26 min: GOAL! Ghana 0 Uruguay 1
Seidu looks to break down the right, but has the run shut down by muscular defending.
Uruguay are looking dangerous, and in the end, it's a loose cross that is allowed to bypass the defenders in the box and fall for Nunez, who sends the shot rippling towards Ati-Zigi. He palms it, but the ball jerks behind him for De Arrascaeta to smash in!
Uruguay have their first goal of the tournament!
23 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
This looks to be a turbulent match, players quick to needle one another, and Nunez may live to regret picking up a fractious early yellow.
Nunez breaks free of the pack, and goes scything into the box, getting a well-weighted shot away from the left, and it clears Ati-Zigi's head – but Salisu is on the line and pulls off a heroic punt to send the ball to the stands.
Uruguay corner, which is dealt with handily after an edgy spell of play.
20 min: MISSED PENALTY! Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
Andre Ayew steps up to right the wrongs of 12 years ago and Gyan's missed penalty...
And it's saved! Rochet falls the right way, the ball is pushed out, and play continues.
A lacklustre penalty, all told.
18 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
Ghana players immediately make a ring around the spot, to stop Uruguayan subterfuge.
Suarez is livid, all of the Uruguay players are livid, harrying the referee. Nunez picks up a yellow card for managing, somehow, to get some gouges into the penalty spot.
Here we go!
17 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
The referee heads to the monitor, to take a look at a sprinting Kudus, toppled by Rochet. There's layers to this, as it could have been that Andre Ayew was offside, but that's of no concern to Siebert and the Var team, who deem it a penalty!
What a turn up! Will history repeat itself?
16 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
Williams picks up the ball on the right and neatly plays it diagonally to Ayew, who skirts rightwards across the top of the box and fires at goal. Rochet makes the save, but the ball springs out! Kudus sprints forward to collect, but skids over Rochet to tumble at the last.
It doesn't look like anything could come of it... but Var is deliberating over a possible penalty!
13 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
Kudus springs for a looping ball, bringing it down to sneak possession back, but looking for Partey, he can't assert himself in the Uruguay half.
Abdul Samed again finds himself tangled up with Valverde, but this time things go Uruguay's way. They look to cross in from the right, but Ati-Zigi steps off his line to make a no-fuss catch.
But his long ball ends disastrously, after a Uruguay header, at the feet of Nunez, who rips through the midfield as defenders scramble. He's shut down, just in time.
11 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
Abdul Samed is fouled by Valverde, who spins him around in a messy tango, passing possession back to Ghana. Uruguay have made the most gains in their opening ten minutes, without truly threatening the Black Stars.
Seidu has the throw in that loops out of Ghana's half and into their opponents, but Uruguay push them back, continuing to hog possession.
9 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
Jordan Ayew plays it short to Partey, who hoofs it forward, but Ghana can't make much more with it, box congested with Uruguay defenders.
Meanwhile, there's been a goal in the other Group H match: Portugal have scored early, which is good news for Ghana and Uruguay. No change in the standings.
Pellistri streaks through the midfield, cutting down the right flank, but he's without support, and Ghana can smother the chance before Uruguay make up their minds to get into the box.
7 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
Suarez picks up the ball on the left, in line with Ghana's goal and is loudly booed by the Ghanaian supporters clustered in the stand.
Jordan Ayew scoops up the ball to run into Uruguay's half, and tussling with Pellistri, wins the throw. Kudus is fouled by Bentancur, winning them a not-unpromising free kick just over 35 yards out.
5 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
Kudus ushers the ball deep into the Uruguay half, before cutting back to Partey, but Partey is intercepted and Uruguay are away. Nunez is last to pick off the ball, picking up as he heads into the box, but he's tumbled skillfully as Ghana avert the danger.
3 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
Giminez sends a ball destined for Suarez to the head of Salisu, who attempts a Ghana break, but Uruguay spin the ball back into Ghana's half. The ball is bundled out for a goal kick, Pellistri in hot pursuit, but his toe is the one to edge it over the goal-line.
1 min: Ghana 0 Uruguay 0
Gimenez falls victim to a skipping tackle by Kudus, and is the first in the game to go down clutching at his leg, winning Uruguay a free kick just inside their own half.
After blowing kisses to the stands, Suarez gets us underway at the Al Janoub, to the blow of referee Daniel Siebert's whistle.
How will the players on both teams fare today? Who shines, and who fails to rise to the occasion?
Make sure to add your live player ratings here:
Sam Dean is at the Al Janoub Stadium
There can be no questioning the strength of feeling in Ghana towards Uruguay, and towards Luis Suarez in particular. It said it all when a Ghanaian journalist told Suarez that he is regarded as "the devil himself" by the people of Ghana. Suarez was wonderfully unapologetic, and his sheer presence at the pre-match press conference was a message of defiance in itself. He does not care what Ghana thinks, and he is very happy to let them know that. Let's see if he can produce a similarly stubborn showing on the pitch.
First come the players, then the anthems
Ghana goes first, their anthem sung loudly by the fans in the stadium, less so by the players, who remain deeply concentrated in their preparations.
Uruguay's anthem, as I now know, takes a while to get going. The supporters wait on tenterhooks for the opening lines, before belting it out with enormous force. It's a heart-stirrer.
Ghana's atmosphere-building started early
— 🇬🇭 Black Stars (@GhanaBlackstars) December 2, 2022
Warmed-up, and ready to go
Harry Maguire cruelly mocked in Ghanaian parliament
Quite possibly one of the stranger stories in and around this World Cup:
The African nation’s economic policies were compared to the England defender’s form for Manchester United since joining them from Leicester City, with one member of parliament provoking laughter by caricaturing the 29-year-old as a player who tackled his team-mates and scored own goals.
Isaac Adongo, aligned to the opposition National Democratic Congress party, went on to brand Ghana’s vice-president, Mahamudu Bawumia, the “economic Maguire”.
— JoyNews (@JoyNewsOnTV) November 30, 2022
How deep do Uruguay's mind games run?
Predictions for this one? Ghana have put in strong performances against both South Korea, and Portugal, in their opening defeat, but their goal difference suggests focus defensively can wane, taking both matches to a knife's edge. Uruguay, yet to score in the competition, have been leggy throughout, although Federico Valverde has provided flashes of brilliance.
But starting Suarez suggests Uruguay hope the occasion might get to Ghana, and upsets haven't been in short supply in this tournament.
Still, I think Ghana take the spoils, points and revenge and all. Share your match prediction here:
Facepaint aplenty at the Al Janoub Stadium
— 🇬🇭 Black Stars (@GhanaBlackstars) December 2, 2022
— Selección Uruguaya (@Uruguay) December 2, 2022
The devil's return
Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of Ghana versus Uruguay, kicking off at the Al Janoub Stadium at 3pm.
Ghana will look for revenge against their foes from 2010, who knocked them out of the quarter-finals in South Africa after a 1-1 draw went to penalties. Luis Suarez was the villain of the hour then, knocking a ball destined for the back of Uruguay's net off the line to extinguish the Black Stars' hopes of being the first African team to reach the finals of a World Cup.
But Ghana's head coach Otto Addo would rather his players channel his spirit of devilry than resent it, as the two teams face each other for the first match since, writing off Suarez's demonstration of dark footballing arts as a matter of "perspective."
"If the same incident happened the other way around and Ghana proceeded to the semi-finals, everyone would say it is normal that a player would do anything he can to help his team go into the semi-finals," Addo mused in his pre-match press conference.
"That is what I wish from every player, to do all he can do to help his team qualify. Sometimes even sacrificing himself with a red card.
"It was a vey sad day for me, I watched it and I was sad, but this is my perspective."
In a masterstroke of mind-games trickery, Suarez will start against Ghana today, despite getting his only minutes during a lacklustre draw with Japan.
The Uruguayan captain was withdrawn in the second half for Edinson Cavani, who starts on the bench today.
Ghana currently sit second in the Group H standings, gaining their first points of the tournament in a punchy win against South Korea, and will be able to progress should they win or draw against Uruguay, pending the results of Portugal's face off against South Korea.
Due to the fine margins between who can feasibly make it into the Round of 16, we'll be keeping you updated as and when things change in the standings.