Luis Suarez has admitted he was leaving his fourth and final World Cup feeling “sadness and disillusionment” following Uruguay’s elimination despite a 2-0 win over Ghana.
Uruguay won their final Group H match in Qatar but were denied a place in the last 16 by South Korea on Friday, who beat already qualified Portugal 2-1 to join them in the knockout stages.
The Koreans qualified on goals scored.
Suarez left the field in tears while fellow veteran Edinson Cavani knocked over the VAR screen in anger as he headed back to the changing rooms.
“I feel sadness and disillusionment. I was lucky enough to play in four World Cups,” Suarez, 35, told Uruguayan TV station Teledoce.
“Before the match I was thinking about my four-year-old son who had never seen me win a World Cup match.
“Today he saw me win but with an image of sadness. For a father, for a player, that’s tough.”
Suarez apologised to the people of Uruguay for the failure, but took a swipe at world governing body FIFA for denying his team penalties he said would have been awarded to other teams.
“FIFA is always against Uruguay,” he said.
“We gave our best, every one of us, it hurts the situation. We were full of hope. It was not possible,” Suarez said.
During the match, Giorgian De Arrascaeta netted twice on Friday in quick succession in the first half, with Suarez having a hand in both goals.
“We had several chances to score the third goal (which would have put Uruguay through),” said Uruguay coach Diego Alonso.
“For 80 minutes we were qualified and we had lots of chances, but in the end it wasn’t possible.”
Suarez had been the focus of the pre-match build-up because of his infamous handball in the 2010 quarter-finals, which helped eliminate Ghana.
And after the game, Ghana defender Daniel Amartey said that he wanted to make sure Uruguay also went out, but coach Otto Addo insisted he wasn’t looking for revenge on Suarez for the events of 2010.
“What hurts most as that we’re out, it doesn’t matter who it was,” said Addo, who confirmed he was leaving his post as planned to focus on his main job as a coach at Borussia Dortmund.
“I know the public was seeking revenge, but I don’t think this way, and I told the players they shouldn’t think this way. We were not looking for that, we were trying to win this game.”
Suarez’s name was booed loudly by the Ghana fans when it was read out by the stadium announcers and he got the same treatment every time he touched the ball.
He was also leading the protests when Ghana were awarded a penalty in the 19th minute.
Mohammed Kudus had initially been ruled offside when Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet brought him down, but after that decision was overturned, referee Daniel Siebert gave the spot-kick after checking the pitchside monitor.
Like the infamous event in 2010, Ghana again missed the penalty.
Another scene that was similar to the South Africa 2010 World Cup is when Suarez left the pitch in tears; however, on Friday, he left sobbing his team’s fate, unlike in 2010 when he was celebrating Asamoah Gyan’s missed penalty in the last minute where he failed to take Ghana to the semi-final for the first time in Africa’s history.
Suarez was booed and cheered equally by the crowd when he was substituted for Edinson Cavani in the 66th minute.
The match ended with Uruguay’s players screaming in the faces of the match officials and Suarez sobbing at his team’s fate.