Uruguay and Ghana have 4 more years to chase each other after the World Cup results.

Chris Jones is in Qatar to follow the men’s World Cup for CBC Sports.

Before Uruguay and Ghana even kicked off, there was an incredible moment of threat.

During the pre-match handshake, Uruguayan Luis Suarez extended his hand to André Ayew of Ghana. Ayew took it, but when she did, she lowered her chin and lifted her eyes, mostly showing their whites. His gaze was drawn from a Western with a revenge plot featuring a wronged hero and a black hat villain.

The meeting of Ghana and Uruguay here seemed preordained, and everyone who gathered to watch was expecting drama from their crossing paths. The result – a 2-0 win for the Uruguayans – didn’t feel like justice for anyone or the story of an incredible night.

In the 16th minute, André’s brother Jordan took a hard low shot, which Uruguayan goalkeeper Sergio Rochet stopped but could not choke. The rebound overflowed to his left. Mohammed Qudus charged for it, and Rochet plunged at his feet. Kudus poked the ball with his toe before Rochet knocked him down.

André Ayew looked offside on the first shot and the Ghanaian’s penalty cries seemed unheard. The video assistant referee then called the referee to the touchline monitor. A nervous minute or two later he came back and, in front of Suarez’s disbelieving eyes, signaled: penalty.

Al Janoub Stadium roared with the instantaneous, collective memory of an incredibly raw history.

At the 2010 World Cup, Suarez was penalized for intercepting a decisive Ghana goal with his hands. (AFP via Getty Images)

Controversial handball in 2010

At the 2010 men’s World Cup in South Africa, Ghana faced Uruguay in an already heated quarter-final. A win for the Ghanaians would see them become the first African side to reach the semi-finals on red African soil.

With the game ending in a 1-1 draw at the end of extra time, it looked like the Ghanaians had scored the winning goal – only Suarez stopped the ball with his hands before it crossed the line. He was given a red card and given a penalty for the Ghanaians to win the match.

One of Ghana’s greatest football heroes, Asamoah Gyan. His shot hit the crossbar and went almost vertically, straight into the African night. Uruguay won the ensuing conflict, and Gyan was injured on the grass for a long time.

Years later, he said, he found himself lying awake at night, staring at the ceiling, watching his penalty fly into space.

“I don’t apologize for that,” said Suarez before the highly anticipated rematch in Qatar. “If I injured the player and got a red card, maybe I can say sorry. But in this case I get a red card and the referee says a penalty. It’s not my fault because I didn’t miss it. It’s not my responsibility. To take a penalty.”

Now, 12 years later, André Ayew was on the scene. Darwin Nunez tried to dig with his boots and was shown a yellow card for his sarcastic efforts. The inevitable push and push followed. Then Ayew began his run, pausing in the middle, the distinctive limp of an indecisive man.

Ayew kicked the ball over his body to his right with his left foot. Rochet dived and made the save.

Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet saved Ghana’s Andre Ayew’s penalty kick on Friday. (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Without penalty shootouts, Ghana became the first country in men’s World Cup history to miss two penalties against the other. Now two of them would stay awake at night.

Uruguay made most of their second delays. Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored two goals in a frenzied six minutes, both with balls Suarez had touched before him. She looked ready to complete her heel turn for ages.

But then, a change: Just across the city at the same time, Group H rivals South Korea and top-ranked Portugal are locked into their own battles. The South Koreans somehow came back to win 2-1 with a goal in the 91st minute, and were ahead of Uruguay in goals scored.

The score was announced on Al Janoub, where the crowd made a new sound. The Uruguayans needed to score to advance in goal difference. They had an additional eight minutes to do so.

Suarez, who was thrown out of the game in the 66th minute, could only squirm in the bench at half-time. As the minutes passed, stadium screens showed him in tears. He buried his face in his shirt. There was end-to-end action – a Ghana goal could have finished things off – but despite what seemed like a thousand agonizing chances, no one scored.

The match ended 2-0 and the tournament ended for both teams.

Only Ghanaians cheered. They kind of got their revenge. But it wasn’t the sweet kind. These two teams were not like armed warriors after all. They weren’t cowboys dueling at dawn. The squid and the whale were dragging each other to the bottom of the ocean. They were two ghosts destined to haunt each other forever, vainly trying to remember a time in their lives when they didn’t have to share them with ghosts.

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