Uruguay striker Luis Suarez claimed today that his deliberate extra-time, last-minute handball, which denied Ghana a World Cup semi-final place, was the 2010 version of the "Hand of God".
Suarez was red-carded by Portuguese referee Olegario Benquerenca for the illegal goal-line clearance which kept out
substitute Dominic Adiyah's header but resulted in a Ghana penalty.
However, Asamoah Gyan then sent his penalty - the last kick of the game - crashing off the crossbar to give the
Uruguayans a reprieve which they exploited by prevailing 4-2 in the shoot-out which followed.
"This was the end of the World Cup. I had no choice. I have the 'Hand of God' now," said Suarez.
Diego Maradona famously credited a goal against England at the 1986 World Cup to the "Hand of God" after he scored
with his hand.
"I did it so that my teammates could win the penalty shoot-out. When I saw Gyan miss the penalty it was a great
joy," added Suarez, who misses the semi-final.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez defended Suarez whose handball allowed the South Americans to claim their first
World Cup semi-final appearance since 1970.
Tabarez, whose side had battled from a goal down to draw 1-1 at the end of regulation time, said Suarez's desperate act
was a reflex action.
"It was instinctive, he instinctively put his hand out to the ball and was red-carded and will miss the next game,"
"He has paid for the consequences of his actions. He wasn't to know that Ghana would miss the resulting penalty. It
is not fair to say that we cheated our way to victory."
Two-time champions Uruguay will now play the Netherlands in the semi-finals in Cape Town on Tuesday.