Ghana vs Uruguay: Cruel exit for the Black Stars; heartbreak for Africa
Ghana could not convert key penalties - in the last minute of extra time or in the penalty shootout - to win the Ghana vs Uruguay game. Uruguay's La Celeste advances to the semifinal with the Netherlands.
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The Black Stars came as close as a team could come to doing what no other African nation has ever done. But they will not be going to the semifinals of the biggest tournament in the world’s most popular sport.
Star striker Asamoah Gyan missed a penalty kick at the tail end of the second extra time period and Ghana lost on penalty kicks.
Few critics gave Ghana much of a chance going into the game. Surely Ghana’s “physical” and “athletic” play wouldn’t be enough to top a highly skilled and tactical team from South America. African teams don’t have the discipline, the tactics, the strategy, or the skill to play with the big boys.
It’s a line of reasoning heard ad nauseum before, during, and after every one of Ghana’s matches and it belies the fact that Ghana’s tight, disciplined defense has given up few goals and that its crisp midfield passing at times resembles that of World Cup favorites, Spain.
The Black Stars proved them wrong, but couldn’t do what it takes to finish off the Uruguayans.
Ghana started off shaky, but came on strong at the end of the first half.
Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari – the villain of this World Cup for Ghana for his sulking after not being used until tonight – emerged as a hero just before halftime with a line drive from way downtown. The wicked spin he put on the new World Cup “Jabulani” ball had Uruguay’s goalkeeper going the wrong way and the South African crowd erupted in jubilation as the ball spun on the net. The Black Stars went into the locker room with a huge mental boost.
Kevin Prince-Boateng, who’s been a sparkplug for Ghana throughout the tournament, aimed to continue the momentum into the second half, but missed a great chance with a one-man advantage on a fast break in the 53rd minute by passing the ball straight to a Uruguayan defender. Opportunities like that can’t be wasted against a team as tough as Uruguay.