Asamoah Gyan, 2010. André Ayew, 2022. Penalties, missed against Uruguay by Ghana. The former, in the knockout rounds — the famous Luis Suárez handball. The latter, today in the final game of the group stage. Ghana, consigned to heartbreaking defeat both times.
Ghana, with Baba Rahman getting another start at left back, entered the match second place in Group H, knowing that even a draw might be enough to advance. And when they won an early penalty, it looked like they would be well on their way. But the captain’s weak shot was saved rather easily, and from then on it only got worse for The Black Stars. Uruguay hadn’t scored a single goal in their previous two games, but Flamengo’s Giorgian de Arrascaeta announced himself to a global audience at the age of 28 with a quickfire brace around the half-hour mark and Ghana were not able to mount another comeback like they had in their previous two games. (Luis Suárez played a key role in both goals, continuing to personally haunt Ghana as well.)
2-0 to Uruguay, lovely finish from de Arrascaeta pic.twitter.com/VtwN8M8wI7— FootballMatrix (@FootbaIlMatrix) December 2, 2022
Uruguay’s win however was not quite enough to advance, as South Korea came back to win it late against Portugal, who had already been assured of qualification. With the South Korea head coach in the stands following his red card at the end of the previous match, a heavily rotated Portugal side took the lead early, but the Koreans fought back, equalizing from a corner halfway through the first-half and then finding the winning goal in added-on time at the very end.
The win put Korea level on points with Uruguay and with the same goal difference. Qualification was thus decided on goals scored, with Korea having the clear edge 4 versus 2. They will face the winners of Group G, most likely Brazil, while Portugal will take on the runners-up (currently Switzerland, but their final games are still to be played).