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Uruguay Triumphs Over Ghana In Shootout, Africa Out Of Tournament In Heartbreaking Fashion

Despite eliminating the United States this weekend, Ghana is the 2010 World Cup's darling - the last African team standing in the first African World Cup. Today, they run into Diego Forlan and Uruguay.

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World Cup 2010, Uruguay Vs. Ghana: Heartbeak Finish Sees Ghana, Africa Out Of World Cup, Uruguay Into Semifinals

Uruguay advances to the World Cup's semifinals for the first time in forty years, where they will face the Netherlands, after the dramatic elimination of Ghana, Africa's last active team in the tournament.  The Uruguayans won a penalty kick shootout 4-2 after 120 minutes of play ended with a missed penalty kick by Ghanaian Asamoah Gyan that kept the score 1-1.

Ghana was awarded the spot kick after Luis Suárez intentionally handled what would have been the winning goal, a strike off the foot of Dominic Adiyiah that was destined for net as the last play of extra time.  Suárez, standing on the line,  reached out with his left hand, saving the shot earning him a straight red card (and a suspension for Uruguay's next match).

Gyan, who had converted his other two penalty kick attempts in the tournament, put the ensuing penalty kick off the crossbar, keeping the match 1-1.

In the shoot-out, Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera saved shots from John Mensah and Dominic Adiyah.  Uruguay's single miss (from Maxi Periera) allowed Sebastián Abreu, La Celeste's final kick taker, to win the match with a chirp into the middle of goal, crossing the line as Ghanaian goalkeeper Richard Kingson dove to his right.

The 4-2 shootout came after 120 of evenly-played soccer left the teams drawn at one.

Ghana scored the first goal of the match in first half stoppage time, with a long distance shot from Sulley Muntari beating Fernando Muslera, the first of two goals seemingly aided by the Adidas Jabulani ball.  Muntari's shot seemed to travel about 20 yards before diving to Muslera's lower left, catching the Uruguayan keeper over-committed to the right side of his goal.

In the second half, Uruguay scored their own Jabulani-aided goal when Diego Forlán's direct kick from 20 yards out bent to the right and avoided Richard Kingson for La Celeste's equalizer.

The teams played evenly and conservatively through extra time until a Jorge Fucile foul before the final whistle have Ghana a dead-ball opportunity from the right flank.  A Kevin-Prince Boateng flick-on led to a chance fro Stephen Appiah, which eventually led to the chance of Adiyiah that was saved by Suárez.

With Gyan's miss and Uruguay's penalty kick win, Uruguay is through to the semifinals, where they will face the Netherlands on Tuesday.  They will be without Suarez for that match, suspended for his red card.  Jorge Fucile will likewise be out, and captain-center half Diego Lugano had to leave this match at halftime with a knee injury.  Defender Diego Godin missed this match with a thigh problem, with injury also keeping Álvaro Pereira out of the team.

Regardless, Uruguay is into the semifinals for the first time since 1970, when they lost to Brazil and then West Germany, finishing fourth.

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World Cup 2010, Uruguay Vs. Ghana: La Celeste Wins Penalty Kick Shootout, 4-2

Fernando Muslera saved the third and fourth Ghanaian penalty kicks, and when Sebastián Abreu chipped-in Uruguay's fourth goal with the fifth kick of the shootout, Uruguay was into the semifinals of the 2010 World Cup.

The teams finished extra time drawn 1-1, with neither team scoring in the bonus thirty after Sulley Muntari and Diego Forlan goals in regulation.

Forlan and Asamoah Gyan (who missed a penalty kick at the end of extra time that would have sent Ghana to the final four) opened with successful tries, with Mauricio Victorino and Stephen Appiah making it 2-2.

After Andres Scotti beat Richard Kingson to give Uruguay a 3-2 lead, John Mensah and Maxi Pereria missed kicks, giving Ghana a chance to pull even with Dominic Adiyiah's try. The 20-year-old striker's shot was saved by Muslera, making Sebastián Abreu's kick potentially decisive.

"El Loco" chipped a ball into the middle of goal, his shot arching over the goal line as Richard Kingson landed to the goal's right, putting Uruguay into the semifinals for the first time since 1970.

Team - Kick Taker - Kick Result - Standing

Uruguay - Diego Forlan - Converted into right of goal (Kingson guessed incorrectly) - 1-0, Uruguay

Ghana - Asamoah Gyan - Coverted into the upper right of goal (Muslera guessed correctly) - 1-1

Uruguay - Mauricio Victorino - Converted into the upper left of goal (Kingson guessed correctly) - 2-1, Uruguay

Ghana - Stephen Appiah - Converted into the upper left of goal (Muslera guessed correctly) - 2-2

Uruguay - Andres Scotti - Converted into the center of goal (Kingson guessed incorrectly) - 3-2, Uruguay

Ghana - John Mensah - Saved by Muslera to the right of goal - 3-2, Uruguay

Uruguay - Maxi Pereira - Missed over goal - 3-2, Uruguay

Ghana - Dominic Adiyiah - Saved by Muslera to the right of goal - 3-2, Uruguay

Uruguay - Sebastián Abreu - Chipped into middle of goal (Kingson guessed incorrectly) - 4-2 Uruguay wins

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World Cup 2010, Uruguay Vs. Ghana: Asamoah Gyan Misses Penalty Kick To End Extra Time

Asamoah Gyan, who has converted two penalty kicks in this year's World Cup, missed a penalty kick to end extra time, keeping the score 1-1, sending Uruguay and Ghana to a penalty kick shootout.

The kick was awarded after a Jorge Fucile foul on Ghana's right flank gave the Black Stars a set piece opportunity with what would have been the final attempt of extra time.  A ball flicked on by Kevin-Prince Boateng saw a chance for Stephen Appiah saved, with the rebound finding the foot of Dominic Adiyiah.  The starlet's shot was saved off the line by Luis Suárez who reached-out and intentionally handled the ball, saving a sure goal but drawing a red card.

Gyan's penalty kick, which would have put Ghana into the semifinals, hit the crossbar and went over goal, keeping the score tied at one.

The match now goes to a penalty kick shootout.

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World Cup 2010, Uruguay Vs. Ghana: Regulation Time Ends 1-1

Uruguay and Ghana played the last fifteen minutes of regulation time without generating significant chances, settling-in to the idea of extra time in their World Cup 2010 quarterfinal match.

Goals by Sulley Muntari and Diego Forlan have carried the teams into extra time drawn at one, with Uruguay having used all of their substitutions.  Ghana, playing their second consecutive extra time match, have one substitution remaining.

The teams will play two, 15-minute extra time halves.  If they remain drawn after that 30 minutes, the teams will go to a penalty kick shootout.

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World Cup 2010, Uruguay Vs. Ghana: Diego Forlan Equalizes With His Own Jabulani Goal

The second Jabulani goal of the match has brought Uruguay even, with a 20 yard direct kick from Diego Forlán in the 55th minute going over the Ghanaian wall and swerving to the right, around goalkeeper Richard Kingson, for the equalizing goal.

The original flight of Forlán's shot took the ball just to the right of Kingson's wall, to which the goalkeeper reacted by moving to his right.  The ball then kept moving to Kingson's left and went into the next, the second time tonight a goalkeeper allowed a goal through misjudging the flight of a long shot.

Now in the 59th minute, the score is tied 1-1.

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World Cup 2010, Uruguay Vs. Ghana: Sulley Muntari Bender Puts Ghana Up At Halftime

On the stroke of halftime, Sulley Muntari's Jabulani goal put the Black Stars up 1-0 over Uruguay in the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup.

The midfielder's left-footed shot from near 40 yards out knuckled in mid-flight, bending to goalkeeper Fernando Muslera's lower left after the `keeper had started moving right, for the match's only goal.

The shot culminated a first half that saw Uruguay exert most of the control, testing Richard Kingson three times in the first half hour, most notably with Luis Suárez's shot from 17 yards out in the 24th minute.    Suárez's half-volley was headed for the goal's upper-right hand corner before the Ghanaian goalkeepe'rs stretch put the ball over the bar and out of play.

After half an hour, Ghana started asserting control of the match, generating counter attack opportunities, the best being for Asamoah Gyan in the 44th minute.

Then, two minutes into stoppage time, Ghana's only shot on goal in the first half found net, with Muntari putting the Black Stars up 1-0.

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