12 years on and fans now believe Luis Suarez did the right thing in handled the ball on the line against Ghana in the 2010 World Cup quarter-final.
With the scores standing at 1-1 as penalties loomed, Ghana piled on all sorts of pressure at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.
From a free-kick in the 120th minute, a scramble ensued and Suarez ended up clearing one off the line. But when the ball beat Fernando Muslera for a second time in the same sequence, Suarez, still on the goal-line, made a split-second decision to save it with his hand and deny a certain goal.
He was immediately shown a red card and walked towards the tunnel with his head hidden in his sky blue shirt.
Yet to continue the sheer drama, Asamoah Gyan smashed his last-gap penalty against the crossbar. Suarez, nervously watching, celebrated with sheer relief.
Uruguay then went on to beat Ghana 4-2 on penalties to set up a semi-final showdown with Netherlands. At the time, Suarez was branded a "cheat" for his antics but as time has gone on, with the video now going viral again, many have seen the light and concur that it was a "selfless act".
This for me was one of the best moments in World Cup history. An absolutely selfless act for the love of your nation, knowing you’d miss out on the biggest game of your life but making sure your nation gets there. Gives me goosebumps every time I watch https://t.co/Ug1ZIsKLbZ— 🧏🏻♂️ (@FinnAFC) November 15, 2022
Maturing is realizing Suarez did the right thing for his country https://t.co/4fWngRQvTO— Eden (@theKloppEnd_) November 15, 2022
I’ve never really understood the “cheat” or “robbery” narrative. He certainly wasn’t trying to hide what he did, red card and penalty. If Gyan scores it’s never really discussed again.— Robert Sargent (@SargentBobo) November 15, 2022
For how much us as Africans have a grudge against Suarez, I would do what he did a million times over and over if I was put in the situation. https://t.co/HYak60zVfv— ዉሂብ (@Wehibbb) November 16, 2022
The earlier people realize this, the better https://t.co/Me3LPY07p7— Superstar Sonshotit 📸📸 and NFT boy (@son_of_a_guy) November 16, 2022
Suarez did the right thing— Remmy (@SseruwuRemmy) November 16, 2022
Gyan missed the opportunity. No robbery there. https://t.co/bZ86DzomeW
The player was sent off and Ghana got a penalty. This was a high stakes tactical foul, not a robbery. https://t.co/kgKt1XRwdV— ᑳarçalεv (@Barsalev) November 16, 2022
Hurts us all to say it, but it’s true. This is the level of commitment to the cause every player going to a World Cup should have. https://t.co/gvh4Dtki1r— Another United Account (@AnotherMUFC) November 16, 2022
Effectively Suarez took one for the team with a last man foul, it was just that Gyan fluffed his line for the spot and his blushes were spared.
The former Liverpool and Barcelona striker has done a lot of despicable things in his career but this is not one of them.
Ghana players still cannot forgive him all these years later but Suarez doesn't feel as though he owes anyone an apology.
"Not at all," he said in an interview with Gerard Pique.
"I didn't kick anyone or anything like that. That's why I think that I celebrated like that for having taken a risk for something that was worth it. And I remember that I celebrated it more than a goal."
Suarez, now back at boyhood club Nacional, has been included in Uruguay's 26-man World Cup squad at the age of 35.
And both Uruguay and Ghana will run it back after the two nations were placed in Group H. They will meet in the final group game on 2 December at the Al Wakrah Stadium.
Featured Image Credit: FIFATV
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