2022 World Cup Preview: Ghana vs Uruguay

Ghana know they have complete control of their destiny as they face Uruguay in their final group game on Friday, a rematch of their 2010 quarterfinal meeting in South Africa.

The South Americans won that game in a controversial fashion, and Ghana will be hoping to exact revenge by eliminating Uruguay in Qatar. Ghana need a win or even a draw to advance to the knockout stage, whereas Uruguay must beat Ghana and hope South Korea lose to Portugal.

Ghana would have become the first African team to reach the World Cup quarterfinals if not for Luis Suarez’s handball. In a tense game in Johannesburg, Ghana took the lead on the stroke of halftime thanks to Sulley Muntari’s wonder strike from long range, but Uruguay equalised in the second half thanks to captain Diego Forlan’s well-struck free kick that beat Richard Kingson.

Then, in the final minute of extra-time, one of the most infamous moments in World Cup history occurred when Luis Suarez blocked a goalbound header with his hand on the line, denying Ghana a late victory that would have advanced the West Africans to the semi-finals.

Portuguese referee Olegário Benquerença awarded a penalty and sent Suarez off. Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan, however, missed the penalty kick, and the Black Stars went on to lose in the penalty shootout.

The former Barcelona man said he was not to blame for Ghana’s failure to qualify, in a pre-match press conference on Thursday. 

“The first time, I don’t apologize about that. I take the handball – but the Ghana player misses a penalty, not me. Maybe I apologize if I injure a player but in this situation, I take a red card, the ref says penalty, it’s not my fault,”

While many regard Friday’s match as a repeat or revenge, the ideal jackpot at stake is a round of 16 spot. Ghana got back on track with a win over South Korea after losing their opener to Portugal. The Black Stars relied on Mohammed Kudus’ masterclass to overpower the Asian Tigers who roared until the final whistle. 

Uruguay, on the other hand, haven’t scored in Qatar, drawing 0-0 with South Korea before falling to a 2-0 defeat to Portugal thanks to Bruno Fernandez’s brace. Diego Alonso’s men must win to have a chance of qualifying, while a draw may suffice for Ghana depending on the outcome of the other group H match.

Luis Suarez is again optimistic his side will outclass Ghana to earn qualification.

“Ghana is a good team but we know them. We have beaten them before and we know how to beat them again.”

Coach Otto Addo is well aware of the emotions surrounding this game, but insists that the team’s only primary objective is to advance to the next round.

“For me, it’s a normal game and we want to qualify for the next stage. What happened in 2010 is very sad but we can’t change it so we are looking forward to and we want to win this game.”

Ghana have conceded in each of their last nine World Cup games and would enhance their chance of qualifying if they succeed in ending the run. Uruguay are also yet to score in the ongoing tournament.

FORM GUIDE (LAST FIVE MATCHES)

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GHANA’S FORM

Ghana have lost to Brazil and Portugal in their last five matches. They have won the other three matches and have scored in four of their five matches. Uruguay have also lost to Iran and Portugal in their last five matches. 

 

28 November 2022         South Korea  2-3 Ghana                  2022 World Cup Group H

24 November 2022         Portugal        3-2      Ghana             2022 World Cup Group H

17 November 2022         Ghana          2–0      Switzerland      Friendly

27 September 2022        Nicaragua     0–1      Ghana             Friendly

23 September 2022        Brazil           3–0      Ghana             Friendly

 

URUGUAY’S FORM

28 November 2022           Portugal         2-0       Uruguay           2022 World Cup Group H

24 November 2022           Uruguay         0-0   South Korea         2022 World Cup Group H

27 September 2022          Canada          0–2     Uruguay             Friendly

23 September 2022          Iran              1–0     Uruguay              Friendly

11 June 2022                   Uruguay        5–0     Panama              Friendly

HEAD TO HEAD

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This is the second meeting between the two countries.

02 Jul 2010               Uruguay          1-1    Ghana        FIFA World Cup

 

TEAM NEWS

GHANA

There are no injury concerns for Otto Addo’s side and previous starters may continue against Uruguay with in-form Kudus Mohammed and Andre Ayew playing behind Inaki Williams. Jordan Ayew was a live wire in the match against South Korea and could maintain his place in the team.

PREDICTED LINEUP

(4-2-3-1): Ati-Zigi; Lamptey, Amartey, Salisu, Mensah; Partey, Samed; Kudus, A Ayew, J Ayew; Williams

URUGUAY

Barcelona player Ronald Araujo may be available only in the knockout stages if Uruguay advances as he recovers from an adductor injury.

PREDICTED LINEUP

(3-5-2): Rochet; Gimenez, Godin, Coates; Varela, Valverde, Bentancur, Vecino, Olivera; Nunez, Cavani