Muntari will clasp the hand that ended World Cup dreams

Sulley Muntari will happily shake hands with the man who shattered his World Cup dreams when they come face to face on Wearside this Sunday.

The Sunderland midfielder and his Ghana team-mates looked to be heading into the semi-finals in South Africa last summer when, with the score at 1-1 in the final seconds of extra time, the Uruguay striker Luis Suarez handled on the line to deny Dominic Adiyiah a dramatic winner.

Suarez was dismissed and the Ghanaians were awarded a penalty but, as a whole continent held its breath, Asamoah Gyan fired against the crossbar from the spot, and his side eventually bowed out of the competition after a heart-breaking shoot-out.

Both Muntari and Gyan could meet their World Cup nemesis at the weekend when the South American, a £22.8m January signing from Ajax, arrives at the Stadium of Light with his new club Liverpool for a Premier League match.

However, while Suarez's intervention that night at Johannesburg's Soccer City may have presented Muntari with one of his most painful moments in football, the 26-year-old midfielder, who had earlier scored his side's goal, is not bitter.

Asked yesterday whether he would shake the striker's hand, Muntari said: "Yes, of course. Why not? He is a fantastic player.

"If it was me on the post, that's what I am going to do. I am not going to get it with one hand, I am going to get it with two hands and then I am going to go out and make way for Ghana. Definitely, I am going to shake his hand. It's part of football.

"Personally, I have no bad intention towards him, I haven't any grudge against him. What about if I was the one who got the ball and he didn't win? Am I going to be his enemy?

"It's part of football. But I am not going to be playing against only Suarez, it is going to be Sunderland against Liverpool and we want to win the game, so we have got to make it bad for them here."

Gyan's memories of the game remain understandably raw, but he too insists he has no problem with Suarez. The 25-year-old, who scored in the shoot-out moments after missing his first effort from 12 yards, said: "Every time I see him I just remember what happened at the World Cup. But life goes on.

"I am a good sportsman. People ask me if I am going to shake his hand when he comes to the Stadium of Light, and I say, 'Why not?'

"It's football. I wish him well and he is doing well. He is a young lad who is coming up. He did what he should have done at the World Cup. He took his country to the semi-finals. Life goes on."

The defender John Mensah also played against Uruguay and all three men could line up for Sunderland against Kenny Dalglish's side on Sunday.

Muntari joined his compatriots on Wearside in a loan move from Internazionale in January and, although a deal is in place to make the switch permanent if it suits all parties at the end of the season, he is not even thinking about his future yet.

He said: "Right now, I want to concentrate on Sunderland and these nine weeks that are left. We are doing well at the moment, but not really what we wanted. We want to be in the top six and it's not finished yet, we want to be there.

"After that, I will start thinking about my future, but right now, it is not about me, it's about the team. That's the most important thing."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions