Uruguay coach blames Portugal penalty for World Cup exit

AL WAKRAH, Qatar – After being eliminated from the World Cup despite a 2-0 win over Ghana on Friday, Uruguay coach Diego Alonso blamed his country’s failure from the group stage to an official error in the team’s final game against Portugal.

“We’re out because of Portugal’s penalties and goal difference,” said Alonso through a FIFA translator. “That is not the point [from a 0-0 draw against South Korea], rather the opposite. We are not out on this point. That’s because according to FIFA, the penalty awarded in extra time wasn’t a penalty.”

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The penalty in question came in the 89th minute as Portugal led 1-0. Uruguayan defender Jose Maria Gimenez slipped out in the box and the ball grazed his hand while he reached out for support as he fell backwards.

Referee Alireza Faghani of Iran initially did not call for a penalty but was advised to obtain a VAR check, leading to the decision. Bruno Fernandes converted the penalty to 2-0.

Alonso has a valid complaint following the International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) clarification of the rule of handball in 2021, when it said the penalty should not be imposed if “the arm position is for assistance in falling or getting up off the ground.”

– Johnson: Why Portugal’s VAR handball penalty was the wrong decision

However, that didn’t change the fact that Uruguay started Matchday 3 level on points with South Korea, while finishing a single goal behind and two goals down on goal difference tiebreak. For teams tied on points, goal difference is the first tiebreaker and goals scored is the second.

When South Korea took a 2-1 lead against Portugal in extra time, Uruguay needed another goal to advance on goal difference. That goal never came.

“We had a lot of chances but in the end it wasn’t possible,” said Alonso. “And of course the emotional side was important, but we still tried to fight for qualification. We had four or five chances in the last few minutes, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible.”

In his first start at the tournament, Giorgian De Arrascaeta scored both goals for Uruguay in the first half after goalkeeper Sergio Rochet saved a penalty from Ghana captain Andre Ayew. Both teams started the day with a chance to advance and were eliminated.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/uruguay-uru/story/4823441/uruguay-coach-alonso-blames-portugal-penalty-decision-world-cup-exit Uruguay coach blames Portugal penalty for World Cup exit

Emma Bowman

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