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World Cup Qatar 2022: The last bullet of the old Uruguayan guerrillas

La Celeste, the only team that has not yet scored despite having Luis Suárez, Cavani and Darwin Núñez, will play it this Friday against a Ghana that wants to consummate the revenge of South Africa and seal their pass to the second round

Ignacio Only

Life or death duel that measures this Friday at the Al Janoub stadium, located in the picturesque coastal area south of Doha, against Uruguay, the only one of the 32 teams present at the World Cup in Qatar that has not yet scored a goal, with Ghana, who wants to seal their ticket to the round of 16 and, incidentally, take a full revenge after twelve years. La Celeste appears in the last day of the group stage as bottom team with only one point, the same as South Korea but with a worse goal balance. The Africans, however, add three points and face the Portugal of the eternal Cristiano Ronaldo, already classified with two victories.

After losing to Portugal (2-0) on Monday, the Charrúas locked themselves in their bunker to do group therapy and try to recover that offensive power shown since Diego Alonso replaced Óscar Tabárez at the end of 2021 and which allowed him to win their last four games in the South American qualifying rounds and qualify for the World Cup one day in advance. He promised a lot with Darwin Núñez, striker for Liverpool, and De Arrascaeta, an outstanding figure in Flamengo that was crowned in the Copa Libertadores, along with old rockers like Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez, but his performance is far from expectations. He does not excel in attack and the Real Madrid player Fede Valverde and Betancur do not lead the midfield either.

On the couch in the bunker

“The same thing happened in the first game. We didn’t go out to win,” defender Josema Giménez said openly after losing to Portugal. “There is a feeling of bitterness because we have a great team and great players, but we are contributing the football that we really have,” the Atlético defender, present at his third World Cup at 27 years of age, opened up. The coach, on the other hand, understands that the solution is for the Uruguayans to loosen up more on the pitch. “The speculation is over. Now what we have to do is face the last game as a final ”, settled, for his part, the Pistolero Suárez.

In the group led in attack by the lion Iñaki Williams, from whom much more was expected in this World Cup, the equation is simple. It is about beating La Celeste or at least drawing, qualifying, taking Uruguay out of the World Cup and removing an old thorn that still hurts. On July 2, 2010, in a quarterfinal match full of drama and emotion, Celeste beat Ghana on penalties at Soccer City in Johannesburg and reached that semifinal in Cape Town in which they lost (3-2). against the Netherlands, defeated in turn by Spain in the grand final.

The ‘black stars’ were able to win in the last minute of extra time after a penalty committed by Luis Suárez, who avoided the goal with his hand and was sent off, but Asamoah Gyan shot the penalty against the crossbar. The process went to penalties and there Loco Abreu scored the decisive Panenka style to unleash the madness in Uruguay and depress the Ghanaians. “Then everyone felt bad, but all I think about now is qualifying for the second round,” emphasizes André Ayew, the only survivor of that generation in Qatar.

Themes

Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Loco Abreu, Luis Suárez, Cape Town, Ghana, Holland, Portugal, Qatar, South Africa, World Cup Qatar 2022

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