Uruguay Break African Hearts

by Michael Somerville

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Ghana 1
Uruguay 1

Uruguay win 4-2 on penalties

The African continent was cheering for Ghana tonight as they just fell short to become the first African team to reach the semi- finals of a World Cup.

Uruguay started brightly with feared strike duo Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez linking up with pace, power and purpose. Ghana (the only English speaking side left in the tournament) had to get some sort of foothold in the game if they were to succeed. Richard Kingson’s unconvincing punch from a Uruguay free kick did nothing to settle the nerves early on.

The Black Stars took 20 minutes to get going. Urged forward by the ever-buzzing vuvuzelas, Ghana carved some decent opportunities for themselves; Muntari going close with a header and one of the men of the tournament Kevin Prince Boateng with an improvised over head kick that just cleared the crossbar from 10 yards.

Sulley Muntari’s free kick almost found the booming ‘Rock of Gibraltor’ John Mensah but just evaded the Ghanain in the Uruguay six yard box.

Cult hero Richard Kingson provided a stunning stop to deny Suarez from 15 yards with 25 minutes played. Kingson was described as a ‘waste of space’ by former Birmingham City owner David Sullivan but was proving useful to his country tonight.

Asamoah Gyan also tried his luck from range but the Uruguay keeper was on hand to catch Gyan’s shot which lacked pace.
Annan continued to make good progress for the Ghanaian midfield; his close control dribbling catching the eye. This Ghana team has a bright future as many of these players can expect to see themselves in the shop window after the conclusion of the World Cup. Think El Hadj Diouf and Papa Boupa Dioup for Senegal in 2002.

Sulley Muntari surprised everyone with a long range thunderbolt that goal keeper Muslera should have dealt with just before half time. It was a swerving powerful strike that took everybody off guard and the entire African continent partied!
Ghana went into half time with plenty to be happy about, but they had to make sure to contain the predatory Forlan if they were to emerge victorious.

Diego Forlan deservedly equalised for Uruguay just before the hour mark guiding a searing free kick past the hapless Kingston from 25 yards. It was Forlan’s 4rd goal of this World Cup, and the former Manchester United man has had a great tournament.
Ghana didn’t let it affect them one jot, as Gyan found some space on the left hand side and fired in a shot from 18 yards but Muslera got down well to save.

Both goalkeepers were clearly at fault for the goals. Diego Forlan found Suarez at the back post with goalkeeper and defender beaten, but his contact wasn’t good enough and the 49 goal a season man’s effort hit the side netting. Ghana were living extremely dangerously and Kingston palmed away a Luiz Suarez toe punt from 8 yards out shortly after. The pressure was mounting on both sides as the clock ticked away, and either side could have nicked the winner.

Uruguay looked the most likely to win the tie as coach Oscar Taberez brought on another striker to create a three pronged attack. Suarez and Forlan had great chances to win it with less than ten minutes to play, but Forlans touch was heavy and Kingston gratefully swept up the loose ball.

The final whistle brought extra time to Soccer City as an obviously tired Ghana prepared themselves for more tension and drama.
The Black Stars started brightly, keeping possession well and using the flanks to good effect. The Uruguay strikers continued to test Ghana with incisive movement but the defence patrolled by John Mensah and the strong character of John Panstil held firm.

An incredible, breathless last period of the game saw Luiz Suarez sent off for handling on the goal line after a goalbound header was literraly palmed away by the Urusguay striker. The stage was set for Gyan to score from the penalty spot, but he hit the cross bar sparking huge relief in the Uruguayan players- no less than Luis Suarez.

An unbelievable finish.

Gyan showed amazing mental strength to take the first penalty-and he buried it. John Mensah and youngster Dominic Adiyiah missed their penalties as Ghana bowed out.

It was an excruciating evening for Africa and one that could have been so different. Africa can be so proud of Ghana’s mental strenth they have showed at this years World Cup. I’m sure they’ll be back for more next time.

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  • dexylongshot

    Unlucky Ghana were a breathe of fresh air and I for one will miss them and the support. Such a shame it eneded the way it did with the despicable sights of Suerez celebrating at the end of the pens and pointing to hand as he was held aloft. He even had the balls to say he was “the new hand of god”. On the upside, it just adds fuel to the fire over the replay technology. Bring on the techno and stop the cheats.

  • http://dexysden.com Bill

    I was very disappointed to see Ghana get knocked out. Suerez is a piece of shit, and I hope God smites him for his arrogance.

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