Suarez eligible for final after 'hand of God' save

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez claimed “the ’Hand Of God’ now belongs to me” after he broke Ghana’s hearts and helped his side reach the World Cup semi-finals.

FIFA have confirmed Suarez will be banned for just one match for his hand-ball against Ghana – meaning the striker will be eligible for the World Cup final if Uruguay beat Holland.

FIFA’s disciplinary committee had looked at the case and decided against imposing any further punishment beyond the minimum one-match ban after Suarez was handed a straight red card for saving a goalbound header on the line in extra-time.

Ghana missed the resulting penalty and Uruguay went through to the semi-final after winning a shoot-out.

The Ajax striker’s post-match comments evoked memories of Diego Maradona’s ’Hand of God’ goal against England in the 1986 finals.

Suarez said: “The ’Hand of God’ now belongs to me. Mine is the real ’Hand Of God’.

“I made the best save of the tournament. Sometimes in training, I play as a goalkeeper so it was worth it.

“There was no alternative but for me to do that and when they missed the penalty I thought ’it is a miracle and we are alive in the tournament’.”

Suarez added: “Now we are in the semi-finals although I was very sad because no-one likes to be sent off.

“The celebration afterwards was impressive, but very quiet because nobody gave us a chance but, with courage, we move forward.”

Suarez’s strike partner Diego Forlan, who had scored Uruguay’s equaliser in normal time, backed the actions of his team-mate.

The former Manchester United player said: “It is a pity we won’t have Luis for the semi-final but he made a good save.

“He didn’t score a goal but he saved one. He was sent off but he saved the game for us.

“Now we will have to try and do our best to reach the final so he will be available for that.

“When they had the last-minute penalty, I couldn’t believe it, I stopped thinking. When he (Gyan) missed, I couldn’t believe it again.

“Everyone is so happy. It was a tough game and we knew it was going to be very difficult and the way it finished was incredible.”

Forlan believes Uruguay deserve their success after coming through a demanding South American group to reach their first semi-final since 1970.

He said: “Qualifying in South America is really tough because Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Chile are great teams with good players.

“You play at altitude, in warm weather, in cold weather, different types of climate and pitches and it’s really tough.

“But we also knew once we qualified this was going to be a different tournament and we just focused on each game.

“We were not looking forward to what might happen, just looking at the game in front of us.

“Every game is difficult whether it’s Brazil, Holland or Ghana.

“It doesn’t matter about the history of the country or names of the players on the pitch.

“It doesn’t matter because this World Cup has had some surprises.”

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