Ghana's World Cup dreams dashed

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Durban - Uruguay have crushed Africa's dreams by defeating Ghana on penalties in one of the most exhilarating matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

To call this game dramatic would be a grave injustice, it unfolded more like a Hollywood script.

Ghana's fight until the last minute was one filled with valour but it was not enough to make it to the semifinal of the World Cup and become the first African country to do so.

It was in the latter stages of the first half that Ghana started to grow in confidence that would be around the same time that Uruguay's performance started to wane after losing key defender Diego Lugano to injury. Lugano was replaced by Andres Scotti.

Before the halftime whistle blew, Sulley Muntari gave the Ghanaians the lead with an extremely impressive strike from more than 30 metres.

Around ten minutes into the second half Uruguay striker Diego Forlan equalised from a set piece.

Ghana could have advanced to the next round if Asamoah Gyan's penalty kick in the dying minutes of extra time didn't strike the cross bar.

This came as a result of Luis Suarez being handed a red card for handling the ball on his goal line.

Gyan was forced to regain his composure quite quickly to take the first spot kick for Ghana, which he did successfully.

Forlan, who has been lethal in this tournament, ensured that Uruguay secured his country's first penalty.

Stephen Appiah and Mauricio Victorino were successful in round two of the penalty kicks.

The Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera saved John Mensah and Dominic Adiyah's kicks, much to the disappointment of thousands of fans at Soccer City and millions more in every African country.

Maxi Pereira was the only Uruguay player to miss while Sebastian Abreu sealed the South Americans' fate with his final goal, beating the Ghanaians 4-2.

Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson and the rest of his team were left in a flood of tears, and pain felt by the entire continent.

Uruguay will now meet the Netherlands, who ousted Brazil 2-1 in Port Elizabeth on Friday afternoon.