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Uruguay news

Suarez happy with 'Hand of God'

July 3, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Forward Luis Suarez said he experienced "great joy" after his handball kept Uruguay in the World Cup as they went on to defeat Ghana on penalties.

Luis Suarez was the hero for Uruguay as they reached the semi-finals
GettyImagesLuis Suarez was the hero for Uruguay as they reached the semi-finals

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Suarez used his hands on the goal-line to stop Dominic Adiyiah's header in the dying moments of extra time. He was subsequently sent off, but Asamoah Gyan hit the crossbar from the ensuing penalty.

That allowed Uruguay to take the game to a penalty shootout, which they won 4-2, and Suarez - who will now miss the semi-final with Netherlands - has no doubt he made the right decision.

"This was the end of the World Cup," he said. "I had no choice. The 'Hand of God' now belongs to me. Mine is the real 'Hand Of God'. I made the best save of the tournament.

"I did it so that my team-mates could win the penalty shoot-out. When I saw Gyan miss the penalty, it was a great joy. It was worth it to be sent off in this way. It was complicated and tough."

Ghana defender John Pantsil believes a goal should have been awarded despite the ball failing to cross the line.

"The referee should have awarded a goal," he said. "There is no chance that any of us Ghana players would have used our hand to stop the ball - no way.

"That was not a penalty - it was a goal. I went to the referee and told him. We should have won today better. It was very painful.

"Everyone is sad. People are crying. The mood is down. No one is happy. We were so close and yet let it slip. It's very, very sad that we could not make it. Credit for the way we fought but we could have done better."

Pantsil said, though, that no blame was attributed to Gyan for failing to convert the penalty. "We always play as a team, as one family. Everyone tried to make Gyan feel good. Anyone can miss a penalty. We were eleven men on the field so we play together and we lost together."

Gyan insists he will recover. "I'll bounce back," he said. "I'm strong mentally. I had the courage to take the penalty, but that's normal - I'm the penalty taker. [What Suarez did is] not the game. Now he is the hero in his country. The ball was going in, he stopped it and I missed the penalty. That's the way it is."