Uruguay elminates Ghana 4-2 in penalty kicks; “Hand of Suárez” saves the day

Luis Suárez’s intentional hand ball helped keep the game even at the end of extra time and force a penalty shootout that saw Uruguay come out on top over Ghana 4-2 and advance to the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Suárez made the handball to save what would have been a game-winning goal for Ghana after a mad scramble at the goal line that saw two Ghanaian shots, including the hand ball, get blocked after a great free kick from the right side that curved into the dangerous part of the box.

The hand ball resulted in an automatic red card handed out to the Uruguayan forward and gave Ghana a second chance at glory with a penalty kick.

Star striker Asamoah Gyan was given the honour of sending his nation to the semis but he shot the ball right off of the crossbar to bring the game to the end of extra time, and take it to a penalty shootout.

In the shootout, the two nations exchanged good penalty kicks, including one by Gyan, until Uruguay was up 3-2. After that point John Mensah stepped up for Ghana but he had his shot turned aside by Uruguayan goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Following this, Maxi Pereira had his chance to give Uruguay a distinct advantage in the shootout, but he shot the ball way over the crossbar giving Ghana another chance to tie it all up again.

Unfortunately for the black stars, Dominic Adiyiah’s low shot was also saved by Muslera, giving Uruguay the opportunity to win the match thanks to a clever chip shot by Sebastian Abreu that completely fooled Richard Kingson and put Uruguay up 4-2.

Preceding the thrilling finish to the game, there were a couple of goals that brought the game to extra time.

The first one was struck by Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari in the two minutes of additional time added to the first half with an incredible shot from just about 35 yards from the centre of the field that managed to skip past a diving Muslera and find the bottom right corner of the net putting Ghana up 1-0.

Diego Forlán scored for Uruguay to make the game 1-1 in the 55th minute with a free kick from the left side that bent over the wall and just out of the outstretched hands of Kingson finding the top of the cage.

This is fifth time that Uruguay has made it to the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup, and the first since 1970. Their record for when they reach this stage of the tournament has indicated either one of two possibilities. They either finish in fourth place like they did in 1954 and 1970, or they end up winning the entire tournament like in 1930 and 1950.

Ghana’s quarter-final appearance matches Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002 as the best finish by any African nation in the World Cup.

Uruguay will play their semi-final match against the Netherlands, who knocked out Brazil 2-1, on July 6 at 2:30 PM EST.