Four players from Uruguay are facing disciplinary action following the South American’s controversial exit from the 2022 Qatar World Cup. And the country’s football federation has also been charged with breaching fair play regulations.
The players were enraged at the failure of German referee Daniel Siebert to award them several penalties, one of which, had it been converted, would have been enough to send them through to the knock-out stages at the expense of South Korea.
All four have been charged with offensive behaviour and violations of the principles of fair play.
Before the start of the final games in group H, which were played at the same time, Portugal had already qualified from the group, but the other three teams – Uruguay, South Korea and Ghana – all had a chance of joining them in the round of 16.
Both Uruguay and South Korea though needed to win their respective matches.
Uruguay v Ghana
Uruguay did their part by beating Ghana with two first-half goals, but twice in the second -half they had strong penalty appeals turned down by referee Siebert in collaboration with VAR officials.
The significance of that was not immediately apparent, because South Korea were losing to Portugal in the other game, and, even when they equalised the advantage still lay with the Uruguayans.
With full-time approaching, it was all smiles on the Uruguayan bench, but then came news that South Korea had managed a late winner, and joy turned to fury.
It meant that although Uruguay and South Korea had ended level on points, the Asian side would advance courtesy of having scored more goals in the group phase. Had just one of those penalties been awarded and converted then the position would have been reversed.
The first penalty appeal came when Darwin Núňez appeared to have been brought down by Daniel Amartey in the box. On first viewing, the Uruguayan forward appeared to have s strong case, but, after a lengthy review, it was ruled that he had initiated the contact.
The second came in injury time when Edinson Cavani flet that he had been blocked off by Alidu Seidu in the 18 yard box. Again the match officials decided there was not enough in the incident to justify the award of a penalty.
Realising that the result from the South Korea match had ended their World Cup dreams, furious Uruguayan players surrounded the referee at the end of the match and remonstrated with him. And now four of them – Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin, Fernando Muslera and José Maria Giménez – have found themselves in hot water for their actions.
Giménez facing lengthy ban
The most serious allegations concern defender Giménez, who is alleged not only to have ranted at officials but of going further by elbowing a FIFA official in the back of the head. He also directed a verbal volley direct into the TV camera, accusing the match officials of being “a bunch of thieves.”
If found guilty he could face a 15 game ban, although it is not yet clear if this would affect his domestic season with Spanish club Atlético Madrid, or just apply internationally.
Cavani pushes over VAR monitor
Meanwhile, striker Cavani staged his own one man protest by throwing the pitch side VAR monitor to the ground as he walked past it to the dressing room along with the rest of his defeated colleagues.
Football Association charged
The Uruguayan Football Association has meanwhile been charged with failing to control their behaviour, and they also face an extra charge of discrimination (although no details of what this involves have been released.)
Was this karma for Ghana?
Although they lost this match, there may be some satisfaction for Ghana that they were partly responsible for Uruguay’s elimination from this World Cup, because it offers them a measure of revenge for what happened to them the last time the pair had met in the tournament.
When the two sides met in the quarter-finals in South Africa in 2010, Ghana had the chance to become the first side from Africa ever to reach a World Cup semi-final.
The scores were level in the last minute of extra-time when Ghana had a goal-line header punched off the line by striker Luis Suárez. He was sent-off but Ghana then missed the subsequent penalty and lost the resultant shoot-out.
And Suárez was involved in both the Uruguayan goals in the match this time, but had been substituted by the end, and could just watch hopeless as the events unfolded.
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