Uruguay coach Diego Alonso awarded the penalty against Portugal in their second group match as his side exited the world Cup.
A 2-0 win over Ghana on Friday was not enough to take second place in the group, with South Korea’s victory over Portugal meaning they finished above Uruguay on goals scored. There was controversy over penalties – again – in the game against Ghana, with two strong appeals from Uruguay dismissed by German official, Daniel Siebert, in the second half.
The Uruguayan players furiously circled the referee at the end, continuing their protests on their way down the tunnel. Edinson Cavani, who was denied a late penalty, was booked for protesting with Siebert and then shoved the VAR monitor to the floor on his way back to the dressing room.
During the match, Federico Valverde rushed to Siebert in celebration after André Ayew saved a first-half penalty for Ghana, while there were also protests after Darwin Núñez was brought down by Daniel Amartey in the box. Afterwards, however, Alonso was more concerned about an incident in the previous match, which Uruguay lost 2-0 to Portugal.
José María Giménez went down challenging Bruno Fernandes, the ball hitting his hand in the process. The Ifab guidelines specifically state that this should not be considered a foul, but VAR official Abdullah al-Marri of Qatar has asked Iranian referee Alireza Faghani to review the decision.
Faghani gave away the penalty from which Fernandes made it 2-0; if that match had ended 1-0, Uruguay would have passed. “We are eliminated because of the Portugal penalty and what he did on goal difference,” Alonso said. “It was granted, but according to Fifa it was not a penalty.” The exact nature of the communication that took place remains unclear.
Cavani could face further action from Fifa after a clip emerged on social media on Friday showing the striker deletion at the pitchside VAR monitor on the way back to the dressing room. Several Uruguayan players had previously followed Siebert down the tunnel full time, before returning to the pitch to cheer their supporters and reflect on a disappointing early exit.
“I would have liked to see this version of Uruguay before but that’s what happened,” Alonso continued. “I have nothing to say to my players: they broke their backs and gave their best. Everyone can see what happened in the previous game.
He said it was too early to talk about his future but Ghana coach Otto Addo is quitting the national team. “When I started last year,” he said, “it was clear that I would stop after the World Cup. My family and I are looking at my future in Germany. We are very happy there. J said when we qualified that I would resign afterwards.
Addo urged fans not to blame Ayew for missing the penalty. “There is no one who hasn’t missed a penalty,” he said. “People who don’t know much about football will blame that person.”