The Cup Running Over

July 2, 2010 5:03 PM

Instant Quarterfinal Review: Ghana Falls Short at the Penalty Spot

SCORE: Uruguay 1, Ghana 1 (Uruguay wins on penalty kicks 4-2)

THE STORY LINE: Africa had its first semifinalist. And then, it didn't.

TURNING POINT: A number of them obviously. The shootout. The missed Ghana penalty kick in the 120th minute after the handball on the line. As to the first 119 minutes, it was when defensive mainstay Diego Lugano went out with an injury in the first half and the tenor of the game changed, as Uruguay became more vulnerable at the back. That led to Ghana's goal.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera is one -- he was superb in the shootout. Another is Ghana keeper Richard Kingson, who may have misjudged Diego Forlan's free kick goal a bit (he may well have been Jubulanied), but made some key saves at other times. And, unfortunately, there's Asamoah Gyan, the man who missed the penalty kick in the final minute of overtime.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Uruguay seemed to play in a more open style than in its first four games, even when the game was tied, at least in regular time. It attacked more  -- surprising given its own weaknesses at the back due to the departure of  Lugano because of injury and the absence of Diego Godin. That may be why it ran out of gas in the overtime, though the altitude surely played a factor too.

BIGGEST NO-SHOW: Ghana -- for the first 30 minutes of the game. Awestruck by the occasion perhaps, but the Black Stars spent the first two-thirds of the first half continually giving away the ball in its own end, saved only by keeper Kingson. Stats in that time? Shots on goal 3-0, Uruguay. Corners 6-1. By the end of 90 minutes, however, Ghana had taken 17 shots.

KEY STAT: Ghana had one shot on goal in the first half, courtesy of Sulley Muntari on the last kick of the half from 35 yards. And he scored.

Barring a collapse, things look good for the Dutch as star striker Luis Suarez will miss the next game for Uruguay because of the red card.


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