Match report as Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored twice in the first half for Uruguay; Andre Ayew had already missed a penalty for Ghana; Uruguay's second-half penalty appeal turned down after Daniel Amartey tackle on Darwin Nunez; Uruguay and Ghana both knocked out of World Cup
Saturday 3 December 2022 07:03, UK
Uruguay were knocked out of the World Cup on goals scored despite beating Ghana 2-0 after South Korea's dramatic win against Portugal.
It was all to play for heading into the final Group H matches and Uruguay thought they had done enough in the first half as Flamengo midfielder Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored twice in quick succession.
They were the first goals Uruguay had scored in the group stages, and it proved to be pivotal to their World Cup exit.
With just minutes to play at the Al Janoub Stadium, Uruguay remained second behind Portugal, but a late South Korea winner from Wolves' Hee-Chan Hwang against Portugal saw them depose the South Americans on goals scored - netting four to Uruguay's two.
It meant Uruguay needed just one goal to fire them into the last-16 on goal difference as eight minutes of added time was shown.
Ghana, whose coach Otto Addo confirmed after the match he will step down from his role, could also have reached the knockout rounds with two late goals, throwing everything forward in an improved second half.
A tearful Luis Suarez - the villain of Uruguay and Ghana's last meeting at the 2010 World Cup - urged his side forward from the bench, breaking down in tears as the full-time whistle blew in what is likely to be his last World Cup.
"It is sadness and disappointment that we feel," he said. "I was lucky enough to play my fourth World Cup, and I was thinking about my four-year-old son, who is leaving with the image of sadness.
"It's difficult, but it's up to me to face the situation."
There were angry scenes after the game as the Uruguayan players confronted referee Daniel Siebert and his officials after a late penalty appeal went unheeded, with the German swiftly heading down the tunnel.
Meanwhile, there were jubilant scenes of celebration from South Korea - who had a lengthy wait to find out if they had done enough - as they reached the knockout rounds for the first time since 2010.
Saturday December 3
Netherlands vs USA - Kick-off 3pm
Argentina vs Australia - Kick-off 7pm
Sunday December 4
France vs Poland - Kick-off 3pm
England vs Senegal - Kick-off 7pm
Monday December 5
Japan vs Croatia - Kick-off 3pm
Brazil vs South Korea - Kick-off 7pm
Tuesday December 6
Morocco vs Spain - Kick-off 3pm
Portugal vs Switzerland - Kick-off 7pm
After a relatively quiet opening 15 minutes, the game burst into life as Ghana were handed a golden opportunity to take the lead. Jordan Ayew's initial shot from range was parried by Sergio Rochet, before the goalkeeper swiped at the legs of Mohammed Kudus as he came in for the rebound.
The offside flag was up against Andre Ayew - who had been lurking in the middle of the area - but after a lengthy VAR review, the striker was found to be onside. This then saw VAR check Rochet's challenge, with Ghana eventually awarded the penalty. Andre Ayew lined up the spot kick, but after a stuttered run-up, his effort was well-saved by Rochet.
Soon after, Mohammed Salisu was the saviour for Ghana once again with another brilliant clearance. Darwin Nunez was once again played through on goal, with Lawrence Ati-Zigi coming out to close him down. The Liverpool forward then chipped the goalkeeper, but Salisu was there to hack the ball off the line.
However, there was no stopping De Arrascaeta as he fired Uruguay into the lead with a quickfire double. Nunez's cross found Luis Suarez at the back post, but saw his shot parried by Ati-Zigi. But the Flamengo midfielder was there to nod home from point-blank range.
It was another fine Uruguay move that saw them score a second, with Nunez and Suarez involved again. The former nodded Facundo Pellistri's cross into Suarez's path, who in turn picked out De Arrascaeta. It was a superb finish from him too as he sent a volley under the goalkeeper.
Ghana made two half-time changes - the Ayew brothers replaced by Kamaldeen Sulemana and Osman Bukari - and they had an instant impact with the African side much improved after the break.
Just before the hour, Uruguay had a penalty appeal turned down by VAR. Daniel Amartey made a clumsy foul on Nunez as he drove into the area, with referee Siebert once again sent over to the monitor. However, he judged that Amartey had got the deftest of touches on the ball before catching Nunez, and the penalty was not given.
The game continued apace with both sides trading blows. Sulemana's cross just evaded Bukari at the back post, before Pellestri fired wide. Federico Valverde's stunning volley from range was brilliantly saved by Ati-Zigi before Kudus lashed an effort over the bar.
As the clock ticked past the 80-minute mark, Ghana had two huge chances with the African side needing goals as much as Uruguay. Antoine Semenyo send a shot just wide of the far post before Rochet made a superb save to keep out a thunderous Kudus strike.
The news of South Korea's winner soon began to filter through, and the atmosphere notched up another level, just as Ati-Zigi made an acrobatic save to keep out Edinson Cavani.
The striker's penalty shout in a frenetic eight minutes of added time was not reviewed by VAR - the likely cause of the angry full-time scenes - as Maximiliano Gomez, Sulemana and Sebastian Coates all missed by mere inches with both Uruguay and Ghana ultimately knocked out of the World Cup.
Despite the victory, Uruguay have been knocked out of the 2022 World Cup, finishing third on goals scored. Ghana finish bottom of Group H with three points.
Portugal go through as group winners and will face runners-up of Group G, Switzerland, while South Korea will face the winners of Group G, Brazil.
Both of his goals were superbly taken, despite it not being enough to fire Uruguay into the last 16. Justified his inclusion from the start.
"Without doubt, we did everything we could. We paid dear," said De Arrascaeta, who was in the starting lineup at the World Cup for the first time.
"We are sad because we left our all in this game, we scored goals and the outcome didn't depend on us, it left us out."
Uruguay coach Diego Alonso said: "We wanted to score the third goal, we knew we could do it, and I think we had several chances to score the third goal.
"For 80 minutes we were qualified, we had chances and actions in the penalty area. In the end it wasn't possible, of course the emotional side was important but we had to fight to qualify.
"We have to analyse what happened tonight, but also the last two games. Uruguay isn't knocked out because of winning tonight.
"We were brave, not fearful, we had possession and were able to build up and link up. I would've liked to see this from us before, but that's what happened.
"I don't have anything to say to my players, they broke their backs and gave their best version. I don't want to use excuses, but everyone can see what happened to us in the previous match.
"I know that my players gave it all, they did their best and today I don't think we can say anything to our players."
Ghana coach Otto Addo, who had previously hinted he would not stay in the post after the World Cup, confirmed after the match that he intends to stand down to concentrate on his role with Borussia Dortmund as a talent scout.
"I said when I started as an assistant in October last year, it was clear that I would stop after the World Cup," he said.
"At the moment, me and my family see our future in Germany. I like my role at Dortmund, we are very happy there.
"From the first day, I said if we qualified for the World Cup I would resign after no matter what, even if we were world champions. This is a decision for my family."