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1-min read

Gyan's miss propels Uruguay into semis

The wild win sent the South Americans into the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 40 years.

test sharma | Associated Press

Updated:July 2, 2010, 11:18 PM IST
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Gyan's miss propels Uruguay into semis
The wild win sent the South Americans into the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 40 years.

Johannesburg: Victories — and defeats — don't come any tougher than this.

Uruguay survived when Ghana missed a penalty kick at the very end of extra time, then won the shootout 4-2 after a 1-1 draw on Friday. The wild win sent the South Americans into the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 40 years. It sent the final African team home in tears.

Sebastian Abreu chipped in his penalty kick to give Uruguay a spot opposite the Netherlands in the final four.

Ghana missed twice in the shootout, but wouldn't have been there had Asamoah Gyan, who made two penalty kicks earlier in the tournament, not hit the crossbar on the final play of overtime.

So Uruguay, once a soccer power, most recently an afterthought, travels to Cape Town for Tuesday's semifinal. The last nation to make the tournament, it needed a playoff against Costa Rica just to get in. Now it is one step from the title match.

Ghana carried the weight of an entire continent's soccer hopes — the other five African nations did not advance — and became the third African team to exit in the quarterfinals of a World Cup. The Black Stars couldn't replicate the opportunism they used to beat the United States in extra time six days ago.

Uruguay won the first World Cup in 1930, then again in 1950, beating Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.

That scene couldn't have been any more difficult for the Celeste than the atmosphere at Soccer City.

The vuvuzela-blowing, flag-waving capacity crowd cheered the Black Stars as if they were South Africa's Bafana Bafana. Nelson Mandela himself praised the Black Stars earlier on Friday, and Sulley Muntari, known more for his bad attitude than his good play, gave Ghana the lead in the final seconds of the first half.

But even with Brazil's loss to the Dutch earlier Friday, this has been South America's tournament. Star striker Diego Forlan tied it with a free kick early in the second half, and penalty kicks won it for Uruguay.

And lost it for Ghana.

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