It appeared Uruguay had woken up after 80 minutes. After two goal assists, Luis Suarez smiled on the bench after being subbed off. All was well, at least at that moment. But then South Korea went up against Portugal 2-1, and Uruguayans everywhere went from smiles to the verge of tears.
Despite the 2-0 Uruguayan win against Ghana, Suarez and company are exiting the tournament. It was a very chaotic game: Ghana got a controversial penalty kick early on which Uruguayan goalkeeper Sergio Rochet saved. Then two very controversial non-calls that could have given Uruguay a penalty soon followed.
Uruguay players follow the game officials into the tunnel after the final whistle pic.twitter.com/bVCIXKM2RW
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 2, 2022
The non-calls were so unreal that essentially the entire team followed the referee into the tunnel. Primarily since Ghana was awarded a penalty on a more lenient call, the non-calls for Uruguay looked very confusing. They ended up being crucial, as Uruguay fell just one goal short of moving on.
End of an era for La Celeste
The shot of Luis Suarez balling his eyes may be the sweet revenge Ghanian supporters wanted twelve years after the events of the 2010 World Cup. In his final appearance at a World Cup, an all-time legend goes out on the bench as his nation exits the tournament.
It's too much for Luis Suarez 😢 pic.twitter.com/2kgYKy95LX
— GOAL (@goal) December 2, 2022
It will also be Edinson Cavani’s last appearance at the tournament. Cavani came on for Suarez in the 66th minute and couldn’t get the third goal that would have pushed La Celeste through. Two legends went out in the group stage, in a Cup where many expected them to go way further. Many pundits even picked them to be this year’s dark horse, but now they’ll go home.
No one stepped up for Uruguay
Before this match, I stated that the passing of the torch needed to happen for Uruguay. Darwin Nunez, Uruguay’s wonderboy, needed to step up, and he failed to find the back of the net in three games. Uruguay was still relying on 35-year-old Luis Suarez, and though he came through with two goal assists to Giorgian de Arrascaeta, they still only scored two goals in three games and were fortunate to even be in position to advance.
🇯🇵 JAPAN over GERMANY 🇩🇪
🇲🇦 MOROCCO over BELGIUM 🇧🇪
🇰🇷 SOUTH KOREA over URUGUAY 🇺🇾
🇦🇺 AUSTRALIA over DENMARK 🇩🇰
The World Cup group stage has been UNREAL 😱 pic.twitter.com/iyWqRh4edP
— ESPN (@espn) December 2, 2022
Asia has more teams through to the next round than South America. Japan, South Korea, and Australia all punched their tickets, while for South America only Brazil and Argentina have gone through. Like other nations, Uruguay waited until their final game to try their best. They needed to wake up much earlier, and in the end they’re out in a way no one expected.