Cristiano Ronaldo has denied that he swore at Portugal coach Fernando Santos when he was substituted during their 1-2 loss against South Korea.
Ronaldo said that the comments he made as he left the field in the 65th minute were in fact aimed at a South Korean player.
Portuguese media said that the 37-year-old appeared to challenge Santos over the decision to substitute him, using abusive language towards the coach.
“What happened was before my substitution, the South Korea player told me to get off quickly. I told him to shut up as he doesn’t have that authority. There was no disagreement (with the coach),” Ronaldo was quoted as saying by Portuguese reporters.
Coach Santos too was asked by reporters about the substitution incident. He said: “I saw the interaction with Korean player and I have no doubts about what happened.”
Furious Suarez loses cool
Luis Suarez couldn’t watch as his Uruguay team slid toward a painful World Cup exit. He put his hands in front of his eyes, then pulled his shirt over his head. When his face emerged again, there were tears.
The Uruguay captain sat in the dugout after being substituted as his team beat Ghana 2-0 on Friday but was still eliminated from the tournament by a stoppage-time goal in the Portugal-South Korea game.
“It is sadness and disappointment that we feel,” said Suarez, who was playing in his last World Cup.
“I was lucky enough to play my fourth World Cup, and I was thinking about my 4-year-old son, who is leaving with the image of sadness. It’s difficult, but it’s up to me to face the situation.”
When Suarez left in the 66th minute of the game, Uruguay was in a position to advance to the knockout stage for a fourth straight World Cup. He had played key roles in both Uruguay goals by Giorgian De Arrascaeta, which came after Ghana captain Andre Ayew missed a 21st-minute penalty.
At the end, the Ghana fans at Al Janoub Stadium chanted “Korea, Korea, Korea” and celebrated Uruguay’s exit, testament to the bitter resentment they still feel towards Suarez and the rest of the national team for one of the most contentious games in World Cup history.
Suarez was responsible for Ghana’s World Cup elimination in the quarterfinals 12 years ago. Then, his deliberate handball on the goal line denied Ghana a certain goal at the very end of extra time. Suarez was sent off but celebrated wildly on the sidelines when Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan missed the resulting penalty. Uruguay went on to win in a shootout.
Uruguay missed out on a place in the last 16 for the first time since 2006, when it didn’t qualify for the World Cup. Ghana, a four-time African champion, has exited in the group stage at the last two World Cups it has played.
Pulisic cleared to play against Netherlands
Christian Pulisic is cleared by the US Soccer Federation to play in the round of 16 clash against Netherlands on Saturday.
Pulisic left Tuesday’s final group match against Iran at halftime after bruising his pelvic bone in a collision with the goalkeeper while scoring in the 38th minute. The Americans won 1-0 to advance.
A 24-year-old winger, Pulisic was taken to the hospital after halftime and then returned to the team hotel in time for the postgame celebration. Pulisic said Thursday he was feeling better.
“With Christian we’re hopeful, I think with him a little less so,” United States coach Gregg Berhalter said before training.
“At this stage, it’s go time. If you can push through it, you do. So I’m sure he’ll have that mindset.”