Ghana vs Uruguay during 2010 World Cup in South Africa
Ghana vs Uruguay during 2010 World Cup in South Africa

Ghana must look past their clash against Uruguay to progress from the group stage at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, according to former international John Paintsil.

Defender Paintsil was part of the Black Stars side beaten on penalties by the South Americans in the quarter-finals of the 2010 tournament.

The match famously saw Uruguay forward Luis Suarez sent off at the end of the second half of extra-time after a handball on the goal line, with Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan then missing a spot-kick which would have made the West Africans the continent’s first World Cup semi-finalists.

After Friday’s draw, Ghana FA president Kurt Okraku declared “it will be revenge time” when the two sides meet again later this year.

“The game that is going to be mouth-watering and that people will be looking forward to is Uruguay-Ghana, because of the incident that happened in 2010 in South Africa,” Paintsil, 40, told BBC Sport Africa.

“As football people we don’t think about revenge – but we always thought about how we can go forward.

“At the end of the day, it is not only Uruguay that we will play in the group. If you beat Uruguay but don’t beat the rest, it will be a problem.”

Ghana will face Portugal, who beat Ghana 2-1 in the group stages on their last appearance at the tournament in 2014, and South Korea in Group H in Qatar before their anticipated re-match with two-time World Cup winners Uruguay.

Former Fulham defender Paintsil believes the group facing Ghana is “very, very tricky”.

“I would call it a group of death,” he added.

“Seeing Portugal, Uruguay, Ghana and South Korea… they area all strong sides. We are going to take one [game] at a time and take it as it comes.


“We are not just going to say ‘because we are in a group with Uruguay, we will put all our strength on them’. We need to put all our strength on all the teams that we are going to play so we can come out of the group successfully.”

John Paintsil and Asamoh Gyan
Paintsil (left) and Gyan helped Ghana become just the third African team to teach a World Cup quarter-final

However, having beaten fierce rivals Nigeria on away goals to qualify for the finals, Paintsil is hopeful Ghana can reach the knock-out stages for the third time.

“I believe our current squad is a very balanced one, with youth and experience,” he said.

“The two matches they played against Nigeria gave all of us hope that they can go further. We trust that they will do it.”

Ghana ‘has great players’ says Portugal boss

Portugal coach Fernando Santos says he will have to do his homework on Ghana before facing the West Africans in their opening game at the tournament on 24 November.

“We see certain competitions and tournaments less in Europe,” Santos told BBC Sport Africa. “That’s the reality, so we really have to analyse Ghana now.

“They have great players, a lot of them play in Europe. It’s one thing to have great players playing in Europe, but you need to have a collective. You can have one or two players here and there, but it needs to be a team.”

However, the veteran coach, who took charge of Portugal after the 2014 World Cup and led the side to 2016 European Championship glory, believes Group H is “open”.

“It is difficult to make an assessment,” the 67-year-old said.

“It’s four continents and four completely different styles. I don’t really know how to assess it clearly because it’s different styles, different cultures, and different forms of play.”