With the game tied at 1-1, Ghana thought they had snatched victory when young forward Dominic Adiyiah headed goalward. But Suarez batted the ball away with his hands, resulting in a penalty for Ghana and a red card for the Uruguayan.
A goal for Ghana in that moment would have seen the Black Stars become the first African country to reach the last four of a World Cup, only for Suarez to sacrifice himself to give his team a last desperate chance of a reprieve.
Much to the dismay of the watching world, his illegal intervention worked as Asamoah Gyan missed the subsequent penalty, sending the contest to a shootout in which Uruguay prevailed.
“The truth is, it was a bit of everything,” Suarez recalled as he sat down with Barça team-mate Gerard Pique for a lengthy chat for publication by The Players’ Tribune.
He continued: “Of being depressed, of being sad, of being sent off. Because we were going to lose, but if they weren’t scoring that goal we weren’t going to lose.
“You get up within 30 seconds when he takes the penalty kick, the satisfaction of taking a risk in a situation of which I have been blamed for anti-fair play. However, the Ghana player missing the penalty is not my fault.”
Justifying his actions that night and his subsequent celebration as he watched Gyan miss from the spot in the tunnel, Suarez added, “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.
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“And I remember that I celebrated it more than a goal. I left screaming and went to the locker room to watch the penalty kicks (in the shootout). And, the truth is, it was painful watching the penalty kicks in the locker room.”
Uruguay, twice World Cup winners in 1930 and 1950, went on to face the Netherlands in the semi-finals, narrowly losing 3-2. Suarez was suspended as a result of his red card, but Jorge Fucile was also banned for multiple yellow cards, while captain Diego Lugano was injured.
The forward, who was still an Ajax player at that time, believes the game against the Dutch could have been different had Uruguay been at full strength.
“It’s easy to talk now, but yeah, if we would have played the semi-final against Holland with Diego Lugano, who in that moment was spectacular, Jorge Fucile, I believe, the best left wing-back of the World Cup, and me, who had been suspended,” he explained.
“If the three of us would have played, it would have been different.”