Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin are among four players handed a suspension by FIFA for their furious reaction to Uruguay's World Cup exit last month.

The Celeste failed to make it out of Group H in Qatar despite winning their last game 2-0 against Ghana, with South Korea advancing at their expense due to having scored more goals.

Uruguay were fuming when Cavani was denied a late penalty after going down in the Ghana area and the Valencia striker pushed the VAR monitor over after the final whistle, while several of his team-mates surrounded referee Daniel Siebert.

FIFA on Friday revealed Cavani and captain Godin have been hit with a one-match suspension, while they must also participate in community football service and pay a fine of CHF 15,000 (£13,140).

Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez and Galatasaray goalkeeper Fernando Muslera have been banned for four games by the world governing body, while they have been hit in the pocket to the tune of CHF 20,000 (£17,520) and also ordered to do community football service work.

The FIFA disciplinary committee also found the Uruguayan FA was responsible for the discriminatory behaviour of its supporters at the December 2 game, as well as for the misconduct, offensive behaviour and violation of the principles of fair play shown by players.

That will result in Uruguay playing their next game with a partial stadium closure, with no fans allowed behind the goals at each end, FIFA said in a statement.

The Uruguayan FA has also been fined CHF 50,000 (£43,800).

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Uruguayan Football Association and four of the Celeste's players – including Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin – following the team's furious reaction to their World Cup exit.

Uruguay failed to escape Group H despite Friday's 2-0 win over Ghana, as South Korea advanced at their expense following their comeback victory against Portugal.

Diego Alonso's team were ultimately eliminated on the basis of goals scored, and reacted angrily when Cavani was denied a late penalty after going down in the Ghana 18-yard box.

Social media footage showed the former Manchester United striker pushing the VAR monitor over after the final whistle, while several other Uruguay players surrounded referee Daniel Siebert.

FIFA detailed the charges, alleging misconduct of Uruguayan players and officials, offensive behaviour and discrimination, in a statement released on Monday.

The statement also said Uruguay quartet Cavani, Godin, Jose Gimenez and Fernando Muslera were being investigated separately for alleged offences relating to offensive behaviour, violations of the principles of fair play and misconduct. 

Speaking after the game, which almost certainly marked the end of his World Cup career, striker Luis Suarez declared: "FIFA is always against Uruguay".

In a separate statement, FIFA revealed Serbia would also face charges of misconduct, discrimination and failure to preserve order and security following their fractious 3-2 defeat to Switzerland on the same day.

Serbia's loss ensured they finished bottom of Group G, while Switzerland advanced to the last 16 by joining pre-tournament favourites Brazil on six points.

Once every four years players from across the globe get a chance to perform on the world stage and force their way into the football zeitgeist.

Whether it is a young midfielder from Ghana who has been battling injuries the past couple of seasons, or a mercurial Dutch forward trying to push his way out of the Eredivisie, it is the perfect launchpad to alter the course of a player's career.

Stats Perform has identified four players who have lit up Qatar and, in turn, have seen their profile and transfer stock skyrocket, opening the door to a new world of possibilities come the January transfer window.

Take a look at these young leading lights...

Cody Gakpo, the Netherlands

Cody Gakpo has perhaps been the breakout star of the tournament, finding the back of the net in all three of the Netherlands' group matches.

Having spent his entire career with PSV, the 23-year-old six-foot-four forward took a huge step forward in the 2021-22 season when he shattered his best goal return, following up his 11 goals in the 2020-21 campaign with 21 last time out.

While those in the Netherlands set-up were waiting to see if he could replicate his terrific 12 months, he has taken another leap, with 12 goals and 14 assists in 19 combined Eredivisie and Europa League contests this term.

There were rumours in the most recent transfer window that Leeds United were among the clubs looking to lure Gakpo away from PSV for a fee in the range of €30million, but he opted to reject their contract offer in the hope of landing at one of Europe's biggest clubs.

That bet on himself has proven to be a masterstroke, with his performances on the Qatar stage well and truly putting him on the radar of Champions League sides including Real Madrid, Liverpool and Bayern Munich, per Dutch journalist Marco Timmer.

He became the first player from any European nation since 2002 to score in each group match, while he also became only the second player to put his side 1-0 up in all three group fixtures.

Enzo Fernandez, Argentina

Just over six months ago, Enzo Fernandez was playing for River Plate back in Argentina, but just half a season after arriving at Benfica for a deal worth up to €18m, the attacking midfielder could be moving on to greener pastures.

Fernandez, 21, broke into the Argentina squad while still with River Plate, but did not receive his senior debut until September 24 this year.

His lead-up to the World Cup was strong enough to book his ticket to Qatar, and after coming off the bench in Argentina's first group-stage loss to Saudi Arabia, he came on and scored against Mexico, forcing his way into the starting XI before contributing an assist against Poland.

His rapid rise has not gone unnoticed, and Marca is reporting Benfica have slapped a €100m fee on their new star if any team wants to pry him away while his contract still has another four seasons locked in.

Real Madrid are one side said to be accepting of that figure, with Marca claiming they now view him as an alternative option to Borussia Dortmund and England prodigy Jude Bellingham.

Mohammed Kudus, Ghana

Ajax's Mohammed Kudus had begun to break out at the club level this season heading into the World Cup.

The 22-year-old central midfielder scored four goals – including one each against Liverpool and Napoli – while adding two assists in six Champions League fixtures.

After being awarded his first senior international cap for Ghana back in 2019, he was spotted at Danish side Nordsjaelland and brought over to Ajax for a €9m fee in 2020.

He missed extended stretches of both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 campaigns through injuries, and still has not been used as a guaranteed starter this season, but his emergence on the World Cup stage has been undeniable.

Against South Korea, Kudus delivered Ghana their only win of the group as he found the back of the net twice in a 3-2 triumph, and it was a performance that is said to have caught the eye of European powerhouses.

Fichajes named Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain as interested parties, and Sports Illustrated believe his price will be around £90m.

 

Harry Souttar, Australia

Australia have now qualified for five World Cups in a row, but after not winning a game at both the 2014 and 2018 editions, they had centre-back Harry Souttar to thank for finally taking three points against Tunisia.

Souttar, 24, stands at a towering six-foot-six and showed off an impressive ability to cover ground in a hurry when he was called upon for a potentially game-saving, last-man challenge to defend Australia's 1-0 lead.

It was one of the most spectacular defensive efforts of the tournament so far and one that will go down in Australian football folklore, and it is even more significant when taking into account his recent history.

Tipped as a potential £20m transfer target late in 2021, Souttar then tore his ACL and missed 12 months of action, returning to the field in time to get three games under his belt with Stoke City before jetting off to the World Cup.

While he could be forgiven for needing time to work his way into form, he has instead started all three group games and been the Socceroos' top performer, including his stellar efforts in a second clean sheet against Denmark to help his side through to the knockout stage.

Clearly back to the player he was before his injury – at least – Souttar's showings on the world stage have been the kind that can take a career to a new level.

Luis Suarez claimed FIFA "is always against Uruguay" as his World Cup career ended in tears and a group-stage exit in Qatar.

The former Barcelona, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid striker played in Friday's 2-0 win against Ghana, which came thanks to a double from Giorgian de Arrascaeta.

Veteran Suarez was substituted before the end and was a helpless observer when Edinson Cavani was denied a late penalty after going over in the Ghana 18-yard box.

Suarez felt that was a reasonable claim, and he also considered Uruguay should have had a spot-kick early in the second half after Darwin Nunez went down.

Despite referee Daniel Siebert assessing the Nunez incident on a pitchside monitor, the match official ruled it should not be a penalty.

Suarez had tears streaming as Uruguay's exit was confirmed, with South Korea pipping them to a last-16 spot after a 2-1 win over Portugal. Another Uruguay goal would have seen them pip the South Koreans to second spot.

Suarez pointed to group winners Portugal being awarded a disputed penalty against Uruguay in Monday's game between the teams, saying that "hurt" in terms of goal difference. Relating it to incidents in the Ghana game, Suarez added: "The penalty against Darwin is very clear. Edi's also has contact."

Calling on FIFA, the world governing body, to "give an explanation" about the rationale for penalty decisions, Suarez added: "They are not excuses, but incredible things are taking place in the World Cup."

He claimed to have been prevented from going across to his family following the final whistle against Ghana, too.

"After the game I want to go hug my family, and people from FIFA come to tell me no," Suarez said, "when you see a Frenchman with his children on the substitute bench.

"It seems that Uruguay has to have more power. FIFA is always against Uruguay."

Suarez, at the age of 35, is winding down his playing career but hoped for a flourish on the world stage. Instead, his tournament ended in a pot shot at tournament chiefs.

He had to settle for a small consolation, but even winning in front of his little boy left a sorry taste.

"I was lucky to play my fourth World Cup. And what I thought about before the match was my four-year-old son, who hadn't seen me win a World Cup match," Suarez said.

"Today, he saw me win, but he sees this image of sadness and I think that's it. For a father, for a player it is very difficult, but we are going to face the situation and encourage our team-mates for what lies ahead."

Team-mate Federico Valverde underlined the dismay in the Uruguay ranks, with South Korea's late winner from Hwang Hee-chan against Portugal having snatched away second place.

"There is much sadness and disappointment," Valverde said. "This is a very good group, of players and the coaching staff. Everyone's family was always there to help us.

"People supported us and encouraged us in difficult times, and it's a great sadness. We are sad for not having given the country the joy it deserves."

Otto Addo insists Ghana took no comfort from seeing rivals Uruguay join them in making an early exit from the World Cup after Friday's dramatic Group H finale.

Ghana and Uruguay both harboured hopes of reaching the last 16 ahead of Friday's game, which represented the teams' first meeting since La Celeste claimed a famous World Cup quarter-final win in 2010, when Asamoah Gyan missed a penalty after Luis Suarez saw red for a goal-line handball.

Giorgian de Arrascaeta's brace helped Uruguay to a 2-0 victory, but South Korea's last-gasp 2-1 win over Portugal in the group's other game ensured Paulo Bento's team clinched second place.

After the match, Daniel Amartey suggested to reporters that Ghana became determined to take Uruguay out of the tournament with them once South Korea went ahead. 

Addo, however, insisted any animosity between the teams did not influence Ghana's approach, saying: "I don't know who said it, but nobody told them what the [South Korea] score was.

"I don't know how they would know. For us, it was about trying to score. As a coach for more than 12 years, I have had games where we led 3-0 and lost 4-3. Anything can happen. 

"I don't think anyone was thinking about this, but I definitely wasn't. Everyone saw wild games with goals in the last minutes. We just wanted to equalise, which would have gotten us through."

Asked whether his players were motivated by a desire to avenge the 2010 defeat, Addo responded: "What hurts the most is that we're out. 

"I know the public sought revenge but I don't think this way, and I told the players they should not as well. 

"I am a strong believer that if you do not seek revenge, you will get more blessings. If it was not Uruguay, we would have tried against another team. 

"It was not important. We were prepared, but today the luck was not on our side. We could have prevented both goals, this is where we have to learn.

"Sometimes you are so close to taking one step further, but then you concede and it gets into your mind. To come back out of this is very difficult. 

"We did it against South Korea but today we couldn't do it, the second goal came way too early. 

"We created a lot of chances, at the end we could have conceded a third goal. I believed until the end that we could score."

While Ghana have failed to progress beyond the group stage at their last two World Cups (2014 and 2022), Uruguay have fallen at the first hurdle for the first time since doing so in 2002.

Otto Addo confirmed he is leaving his role as Ghana coach as he predicted the team will continue to improve after a promising World Cup campaign.

Addo was appointed as interim boss of the Black Stars in February, but has been juggling the role with his job as a talent coach for Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.

Ghana would have progressed to the last 16 of the World Cup in Qatar with a win over Uruguay at Al Janoub Stadium on Friday, but ultimately finished bottom of Group H after a 2-0 defeat.

Andre Ayew missed a first-half penalty, with Giorgian de Arrascaeta's quickfire double putting Uruguay in control, albeit the win was not enough to send Diego Alonso's team into the knockout round.

In his post-match news conference, Addo announced he would be stepping down.

"When I started as an assistant coach in October last year, it was clear I would stop after the World Cup," he said.

"At the moment, me and my family see our future in Germany, I like my role at Dortmund, we are very happy there.

"I would be leaving even if we were world champions, this is a decision for the family. This is my decision."

Ghana's squad was the youngest at the tournament, and Addo sees a bright future for the team.

He said: "This is football, sometimes football is beautiful, sometimes really ugly, unfortunately for us it was not a happy day.

"There's not one player who has not missed a penalty, their goalkeeper was really good today.

"We had a lot of chances, but had to do better in defence. Allowing two chances against world-class strikers is two too much. We have a young squad, have to learn, sure it has a bright future.

"We have to believe in ourselves. The greatest players are great because they have experience. That comes from doing things wrong. 

"They have to work on all of these things. They will grow from this experience and will do better next time."

Diego Alonso blamed Uruguay's World Cup exit on Portugal's last-gasp penalty in their second Group H game.

La Celeste looked on course to reach the knockout stage on Friday with a 2-0 win over Ghana, yet South Korea's late winner against Portugal saw them progress at Uruguay's expense.

Uruguay and South Korea had the same goal difference, but the latter went through courtesy of having scored more goals.

However, Alonso does not think it should have come to that and lamented a contentious late penalty in their 2-0 defeat to Portugal, given against Jose Gimenez for handball.

"We are out because of the penalty that Portugal got and the goals scored," he said.

"We are not out because of the point against South Korea; we are out because of Portugal's penalty that FIFA said was a penalty. It was not a penalty."

Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored twice after Andre Ayew had missed a penalty for Ghana, but it ended in disappointment for Uruguay, with Luis Suarez among those in tears at the full-time whistle. 

Despite a disappointing early departure from Qatar 2022, Alonso was full of praise for the way his side acquitted themselves.

"I was critical in the other matches as we missed the creativity," he added.

"The second half against Portugal was really good. Today, I very much liked the team. We found our way, we were brave, not fearful, had the possession, and were able to link up.

"Of course, I would have liked to see this version earlier in the tournament. I have nothing to say to my players because they broke their backs and gave their best.

"Everyone could see what happened to us in the other matches. I know that my players gave it their all.

"From the first day, I believed in my players and they responded on the pitch. I am very proud of what we did.

"Everything we have done was spectacular. I deeply regret we are out, because I truly believe in these players and what we could achieve at this World Cup; their character, their determination."

Alonso bristled at a suggestion from one journalist that his players did not do enough, stating: "I disagree. I can't allow you to say that, I'm very sorry.

"The players made a huge effort every day, every match. They gave their utmost over the last year.

"All the decisions they made in their clubs was based in the national interest. I can't allow you to say they did not break their backs."

Uruguay failed to progress to the World Cup round of 16 despite a 2-0 win over Ghana, who were left to rue Andre Ayew's early penalty miss.

La Celeste looked set to claim second spot in Group H, but South Korea's late winner against Portugal saw them advance by virtue of scoring more goals than Diego Alonso's side.

In their first meeting since a controversial World Cup quarter-final in 2010, which saw Asamoah Gyan miss a penalty after Luis Suarez had been sent off for a handball on the goal-line, Ghana once again paid the price for a squandered spot-kick – this time Ayew failing to find the back of the net.

Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored twice soon after that to seal the victory for Uruguay, but it was not enough to see them to avoid an early exit along with Ghana.

 

 

 

 

Ghana's World Cup reunion with Uruguay is set to be full of bite, and Luis Suarez was handed a start in the showdown at Al Janoub.

Suarez said on Thursday that he will never apologise for his famous handball on the line in a 2010 quarter-final tie with the Black Stars.

With the scores level at 1-1, Asamoah Gyan hit the resulting spot-kick against the crossbar, and Uruguay went on to win on penalties.

Suarez was sent off for the handball, but it was put to him in the pre-match press conference that many Ghana fans still compare the former Liverpool and Barcelona star to the Devil.

Uruguay coach Diego Alonso had no issues in handing the 35-year-old a starting spot for the crunch Group H match, though. Uruguay need a victory to stand a chance of progressing to the last 16.

Ghana, meanwhile, can progress with a draw, though victory would ensure their place in the knockout stage.

Suarez was named at the top of a three-man attack also including Darwin Nunez and Facundo Pellistri. Edinson Cavani was named on the bench.

Federico Valverde and Rodrigo Bentancur continued in midfield, with Jose Maria Gimenez and Sebastian Coates at the centre of defence, with Barcelona's Ronald Araujo still unavailable due to injury.

Ghana coach Otto Addo made two changes to the side that beat South Korea 3-2, with Baba Rahman and Alidu Seidu coming in for Gideon Mensah and Tariq Lamptey respectively.

Mohammed Kudus has been Ghana's star in Qatar, and started as part of a three-man attacking midfield unit along with captain Andre Ayew and his brother Jordan.

As far as World Cup grudge matches go, not many – if any – can rival Ghana against Uruguay this century.

Twelve and a half years on from 'that' match in Johannesburg, the footage of Luis Suarez celebrating his next-level dark arts – some would use a stronger term – remains engrained in the memory.

While revenge may not be the main motive for winning Friday's latest encounter between the sides – or at least not in the view of Ghana boss Otto Addo – the Black Stars will be relishing the chance to get one over on Suarez and Co.

The prize on the line is not as big as in 2010, when Uruguay's penalty shoot-out win took them through to the World Cup semi-finals, but should Ghana avoid defeat at Al Janoub Stadium they will be through to the last 16 in Qatar.

Ahead of the tasty tussle, Stats Perform looks at why their only previous World Cup meeting was so notorious and what exactly is on the line this time around.

"The hand of God now belongs to me" 

Those are the words credited to Suarez in 2010, referencing Diego Maradona's equally as infamous goal for Argentina against England in the 1986 World Cup and clearly taking some pride in his act of gamesmanship.

Public enemy number one in Ghana and wider parts of Africa he may have been, but back home in Uruguay he was elevated towards legendary status.

"I always say if I was Suarez, I'd have done the same thing to save my country. He's a hero there," said Ghana great Asamoah Gyan. "People hate him, but he did what he had to do to get his country to the semi-final."

So what exactly did Suarez do to become hated or loved to the highest degree, depending on exactly who you ask?

No, the then-Ajax striker did not bite anyone – not in that game, at least – but rather used another part of his body to help send his country through at Ghana's expense.

 

After Diego Forlan had cancelled out Sulley Muntari's opener to take the match to extra-time, penalties loomed to determine who would reach the last four in South Africa.

Ghana looked the more likely side to score a winner in their bid to become the first African side to reach the semis of the competition, at which point Suarez illegally handled Dominic Adiyiah's goal-bound shot.

"Illegally handled" is one way of putting it; a great two-handed save on the line is another. Suarez did what was necessary to prevent Adiyiah's late effort from eliminating Uruguay, who went on to lose 3-2 to the Netherlands in the next round.

A red card was his punishment, though it was ultimately worth it as Gyan struck the crossbar from the subsequent spot-kick and it was Uruguay who went through on penalties after the game finished 1-1 at the end of 120 minutes.

 

The state of play 12 years on

More than the act itself, it was arguably the way Suarez stood on the edge of the pitch and wildly celebrated Gyan's missed effort that angered Ghana supporters so much.

The man who had just denied them their greatest day was about to enjoy his own greatest day – or at least with his national side, having had so much success at club level, where he is now plying his trade for Nacional once again.

And so we arrive full circle to the current day in Al-Wakrah, where on Friday it will be heartbreak for at least one of Ghana or Uruguay.

After a thrilling 3-2 victory over South Korea to follow up a just as lively 3-2 loss to Portugal, Ghana are second in Group H and will be assured of a place in the knockout stage should they win.

A draw, just like in Bloemfontein, may also be enough for Ghana should South Korea fail to beat group leaders Portugal.

Uruguay, who have failed to score in a stalemate with South Korea and 2-0 loss to Portugal, need to win and hope Portugal avoid defeat against South Korea.

Not quite winner takes all, then, but the stakes remain incredibly high in this huge grudge match, which Suarez will be hopeful of starting.

"I'm a guy who doesn't think too much in the past when this incident happened," Ghana boss Addo said in the build-up to the match. "I'm a strong believer if you don't seek revenge, you get even more blessings."

Maybe so. But by beating Uruguay on Friday to exact that revenge, Ghana will have blessings that may yet take them even further than the magical run 12 years ago that ended in the most crushing of manners.

Either way, in what will surely be his final World Cup, you would not bet against that man Suarez taking centre stage regardless of the outcome.

Ghana captain Andre Ayew knows there is more to come from Mohammed Kudus, who has cemented his place as one of the young stars of the 2022 World Cup.

Kudus, who was excellent in Ghana's opening defeat to Portugal, scored twice for the Black Stars to help them to a 3-2 win over South Korea last time out.

That result means Otto Addo's team head into their final Group H match, against Uruguay – a fixture that has plenty of history to it – knowing a win would guarantee their place in the last 16, while a draw may also be enough.

Kudus, who was close to joining Everton in August, arrived in Qatar having enjoyed a fine start to the season for Ajax, scoring 10 times, and his form at the tournament has been attracting interest from bigger clubs, with Barcelona director Jordi Cruyff confirming the Blaugrana have been tracking the 22-year-old.

"He has a bright future in front of him," Ayew said of Kudus.

"We know this, I know this, Ghana knows it now, the world is going to know it. You'll see, more is coming from my boy.

"Hopefully he can keep on shining because he has a really bright future."

Friday's match comes over 12 years on from their only previous World Cup meeting in the quarter-finals in South Africa.

With the game level at 1-1, Luis Suarez used his hand to block Dominic Adiyiah's header on the line. 

The Uruguay striker was sent off, but Asamoah Gyan rattled the crossbar from the resulting spot-kick, before Ghana lost the subsequent penalty shoot-out.

While Addo has insisted Ghana are not out for revenge, there will no doubt be plenty of bite to the encounter at Al Janoub Stadium.

Uruguay have taken just one point from their opening two matches and need to win to progress, while also relying on Portugal not to slip up against South Korea.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ghana – Mohammed Kudus

Ghana have scored in their last seven World Cup games and could equal Nigeria's record of eight for an African nation at the tournament, set between 1994 and 1998.

If they are to win, Kudus will likely play a key role once again. He is the only player to ever score twice in a World Cup match for the Black Stars, and another goal in the tournament would see him match Gyan's record haul of three goals in a single edition of the World Cup for Ghana.

Uruguay – Federico Valverde

Arguably one of the form midfielders in world football over the past year, Valverde was limited to having just one shot and making one key pass against Portugal.

But the Real Madrid star has the ability to take the game away from Ghana if, along with Rodrigo Bentancur, he can win the midfield battle.

Bentancur won possession 19 times against Portugal, the most by a player in a 90-minute World Cup match since Brazil's Mauro Silva in 1994 against the United States (also 19).

PREDICTION

Despite Uruguay's disappointing start in Qatar, Opta's prediction model still makes them favourites for this one, ranking their chances of victory at 54.8 per cent.

Uruguay have never lost a World Cup match against an African nation, and Opta say Ghana only have a 21.3 per cent likelihood of taking three points. 

The draw is given a 23.9 per cent chance, and that result would suit Ghana as long as Korea do not beat Portugal by a two-goal margin.

Luis Suarez feels no need to apologise for his handball against Ghana 12 years ago, as he hopes to propel Uruguay into the World Cup last 16.

Having taken a point from their opening two matches in Qatar, Uruguay must beat Ghana on Friday to progress from Group H.

However, the game at Al Janoub Stadium is something of a grudge match - at least from the point of view of Ghana supporters.

While the Black Stars coach Otto Addo insisted Ghana will not be out for revenge, Suarez has been a hugely unpopular figure in the African nation since he handled on the line to deny Dominic Adiyiah a goal in extra-time of a World Cup quarter-final tie in 2010.

Suarez was sent off, but Asamoah Gyan hit the crossbar from the resulting spot-kick, with Uruguay going on to progress to the semi-finals by winning the penalty shoot-out.

The former Liverpool and Barcelona star has never considered apologising, though.

"I don't apologise for that," he said in a press conference. 

"I did the handball, but the Ghana player missed a penalty, not me.

"Maybe I could apologise if I injured the player, but in this situation I was sent off, the ref said penalty – it's not my fault, because I didn't miss the penalty.

"It's not my responsibility to score the penalty."

When it was put to Suarez that Ghana, who could go through with a point, might be even more motivated if he plays in what could well be his final World Cup game, the 35-year-old suggested an obsession with revenge is unhealthy.

"I haven't thought about this. I don't know what people are saying or if they want revenge," he replied.

"The players who might play tomorrow might've been eight years old back then, will they be motivated? Some people might call me the Devil.

"We beat Portugal in 2018, have you heard Portuguese people saying they needed revenge because we lost?"

Suarez also referenced the incident involving Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 World Cup, when the Uruguay forward bit the Italy defender on the shoulder.

"What I did to Chiellini, I made a mistake, but afterwards we played together in the Champions League and shook hands," he added.

"You can't focus on the past and revenge, that can be counter-productive."

Uruguay coach Diego Alonso said: "For us it's a defining match and that's what matters, I don't know if Ghana will want revenge, we respect them and we will try to be better to be able to qualify."

His counterpart Addo, meanwhile, reiterated Ghana's minds are not fixed on revenge.

"This is what I wish from every player, to do all they can to get to the semi-final of a World Cup. Maybe sacrifice themselves. This is my perspective," he said.

"It was very sad what happened in 2010, but we can't change it. In general, it is about perspective," Addo said.

"If the same incident had happened the other way round people would have talked about it, so for me it is not a big topic. We are going into the match like any other."

France, Brazil and Portugal are the only sides to have already secured World Cup knockout football, with numerous teams facing a nervy final matchday as they bid to reach the round of 16 in Qatar.

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil breezed through Group G with wins over Serbia and Switzerland, while France became the first reigning world champions to escape the group stage since the Selecao in 2006.

Portugal made sure of their round-of-16 spot after Monday's Group H victory over Uruguay, yet the likes of England, Spain, Germany and Argentina all need results on matchday three to progress.

The Netherlands are another big name that have yet to confirm their place in the latter stages of FIFA's top tournament, while Belgium face a tense Group F clash with Croatia to avoid an early exit.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the permutations riding on the final selection of group-stage action in the Middle East.

Group A

The Netherlands are largely in control of Group A, needing to just avoid defeat against the already eliminated hosts, Qatar.

Louis van Gaal's side will also reach the round of 16 if Ecuador beat Senegal, who have to win otherwise Aliou Cisse's side will rely on a somewhat unlikely win for Qatar over the Netherlands to remain in contention.

Ecuador, who have impressed in their first two games, must win or draw against Senegal to progress. However, Gustavo Alfaro's men could go through in defeat if Qatar beat the Netherlands.

Group B

A win or a draw is enough for England against fierce rivals Wales. Yet, the Three Lions would still progress as long as they avoid a four-goal defeat against Wales, whose goal difference is six fewer.

Iran are guaranteed to qualify with victory over the United States, who know anything other than a win against Carlos Queiroz's side will see them eliminated from the competition.

Quieroz's men could still escape Group B with a draw, though goal difference would come into play if Wales pick up their first win at the tournament against Gareth Southgate's England.

Group C

All four teams can still make it out of an enticing Group C, with Argentina – who were among the pre-tournament favourites – needing to beat Poland to guarantee a round-of-16 place.

La Albiceleste could progress with a draw, however, and would be through in that instance if Mexico and Saudi Arabia also share the spoils.

Yet, if Lionel Scaloni's men are held and Herve Renard's men beat El Tri, Argentina will be eliminated. If Mexico win and Argentina draw, it goes to goal difference.

Poland would go through by avoiding defeat, but would be knocked out by a loss coupled with a Saudi Arabia victory over Mexico, who must win to have any chance of remaining in the tournament.

If Poland lose and Saudi Arabia draw, the two teams will have to be separated by goal difference, which will also be used if Czeslaw Michniewicz's side are defeated and Mexico win.

Group D

France are already in the round-of-16 draw and will top Group D as long as they do not lose to Tunisia and Australia do not defeat Denmark, otherwise the Socceroos would move level on six points with Les Bleus.

While victory would take Australia through, Graham Arnold's side would still reach the knockout stage with a draw unless Tunisia beat France, which would see Jalel Kadri's men progress on goal difference.

Denmark would grab qualification with a win over Australia unless Tunisia triumph over France, which would leave goal difference or goals scored to separate the Carthage Eagles and Kasper Hjulmand's men.

Group E

Spain are the favourites to progress from Group E, requiring a win or draw against Japan. Defeat would see Luis Enrique's side still go through on goal difference, unless Germany lose to Costa Rica.

Germany must pick up three points to stay in contention and would qualify as long as Spain defeat Japan, though a draw in the latter game or a win for Hajime Moriyasu's men would see goal difference needed.

A win for Japan over Spain would take Moriyasu's side through, while a draw – coupled with a stalemate for Germany – would also see the Samurai Blue make the knockout stage.

Costa Rica would earn a last-16 spot with victory and a point would also take them through if Spain overcome Japan. A draw in both games or a defeat for Fernando Suarez's side sees them eliminated.

Group F

Croatia will pass through Group F if they avoid defeat against Belgium, who require victory against the 2018 runners-up to guarantee a place in the round of 16.

Such a win for Belgium would leave Croatia needing already eliminated Canada to overcome Morocco, with goal difference coming into play to separate Zlatko Dalic's side from the Atlas Lions.

A draw is likely not enough for Belgium. They would need Morocco to lose to Canada and then rely on goal difference, though Walid Regragui's men (+2) hold the advantage over Roberto Martinez's side (-1) in the decisive metric.

Morocco would progress with victory over Canada, while a defeat would see Regragui's side reliant on Belgium beating Croatia for goal difference to be decisive between Dalic's men and the Atlas Lions for second.

Group G

Brazil have secured knockout football and will finish as Group G winners with anything other than defeat against Cameroon, who need victory against Tite's side and results to go their way to make the last 16.

Rigobert Song's men would be eliminated if they do not win, though victory is not guaranteed to secure progression as Switzerland could play out a high-scoring draw with Serbia to go through on goals scored, which is used if sides cannot be separated on goal difference – Cameroon are currently on -1 and Switzerland level in the latter metric.

The somewhat expected scenario of Cameroon losing to Brazil would see Serbia and Switzerland become a winner-takes-all clash. 

Dragan Stojkovic's side need victory to progress in that instance, while a draw would be enough for Switzerland. Goal difference would be required if Serbia (-2) and Cameroon (-1) both win their final encounters.

Group H

Portugal are already through and would top Group H by avoiding defeat against South Korea, who could still make a late charge for the round-of-16 stage should the result between Uruguay and Ghana go their way.

The permutations are straightforward for Uruguay and South Korea, who must win to avoid elimination, though qualification is not assured even with victory.

Both teams would be level on four points with victories, again leading to goal difference to separate. Yet, if Ghana beat Uruguay then South Korea's result against Portugal will prove irrelevant for Paulo Bento's side.

A draw for Ghana and a win for South Korea would also see goal difference required to split the two sides, with Bento's men trailing the Black Stars by one in that metric, which could mean goals scored comes into it.

Ghana head coach Otto Addo insists the Black Stars will not "seek revenge" against Uruguay when they collide in a repeat of their infamous 2010 World Cup quarter-final.

Following their narrow 3-2 win over South Korea on Monday, Addo's side will seal their last-16 place with victory over La Celeste in their final Group H match on Friday.

There will be added spice to the clash, which comes 12 years after their notorious last-eight clash in South Africa.

After Diego Forlan cancelled out Sulley Muntari's earlier strike, Luis Suarez denied Ghana an extra-time winner when he handled Dominic Adiyiah's goalbound header on the line.

Asamoah Gyan missed the subsequent spot-kick, which was wildly celebrated by the dismissed Suarez, while Uruguay eventually advanced to the semi-finals after prevailing 4-2 on penalties.

 

But Addo insists that painful memory will not provide extra incentive for the Black Stars, who would have become the first African nation to reach the last four at the finals.

"I'm a guy who doesn't think too much in the past when this incident happened," the coach said. "I'm a strong believer if you don’t seek revenge, you get even more blessings.

"It's a different approach, a different team. [Uruguay] have very good strikers, lots of experience. They are very compact, very good. It will be very, very difficult, again.

"We are a team that knows every game will be on the edge, we have to be at our best to beat them. But I'm confident enough to know we can win this game."

South Korea were left bemoaning a "lack of fairness" after head coach Paulo Bento was sent off at the end of their 3-2 defeat to Ghana due to a furious reaction to his side not being allowed to take a late corner.

During a thrilling contest at Education City Stadium, Ghana found themselves 3-2 up after Mohammed Kudus' second goal of the game halted South Korea's momentum.

The Taeguk Warriors, who had previously fought back from 2-0 down thanks to a Cho Gue-sung brace, piled the pressure on at the end and got themselves a corner.

But referee Anthony Taylor blew for full-time before they could take the set-piece, sparking a frustrated reaction from Bento, whose side were left bottom of Group H with one point heading into their final game.

Bento's red card meant he was banned from taking part in the post-match media conference, but his assistant Sergio Costa was more than willing to state his boss' case.

"Totally unfair," Costa said of the situation. "In the first half they let a similar situation be played.

"The referee took that opportunity away, Paulo reacted. He said nothing that was inappropriate to the referee, but he does what he knows. I think it's a lack of fairness.

"I think the reaction is one of a person and group who feel lack of fairness at the end of the match.

"[Bento] is emotional and defends his own until the last. We are all able to understand his reaction.

"That sometimes leads to reactions that are part of what a human being is made of. It was normal of someone who did everything for the win.

"I believe we should feel sad, feel a lack of justice at the end, but also be proud. We gave our souls and that's something we'll try to repeat."

While Bento's absence for South Korea's crucial final group match – which they need to win – against Portugal is far from ideal, Costa suggested the situation will boost the team's unity.

"We shall continue to prepare in same way as other matches - our strategy will not fail," Costa added. "He won't be present on the matchday, which is a loss because Paulo is obviously a great manager, but I think it will bring us together."

Kudus proved decisive for Ghana after also impressing against Portugal on matchday one, with his brace on Monday making him the second-youngest African player ever to score twice in a World Cup game.

Ghana coach Otto Addo seemed reluctant to lavish Kudus with praise before the game, but he was more forthcoming afterwards and reserved a special mention for the Right To Dream academy, where the Ajax midfielder honed his skills as a youngster before making the most of their link-up with Denmark's Nordsjaelland.

Addo said: "He's a good character, like everyone else. He's a good player who is good one-on-one; he's fast and has very good game intelligence.

"He has to work more defensively, for sure, but he's on the right track to be a great player. I just have high praise for him.

"I've known him for six or seven years, from the time I was working as an assistant at Nordsjaelland, where we have a cooperation with the Right to Dream academy, so also congratulations to them, for this really, really good education.

"Players like him and Kamaldeen [Sulemana] are extraordinary on and off the pitch. They are good guys, good characters. Congratulations to [Right to Dream] for creating such a player."

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