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2010 World Cup: Ghana heartbreak at the hands of Suarez

Ghana were defeated by Uruguay in the 2010 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals. | PHOTO: New Frame |
  • Ghana was the face of Africa in the 2010 FIFA World Cup played in South Africa
  • Ghana was knocked out in the quarter-finals by Uruguay but one moment topped the headlines
  • Luis Suarez denied Ghana a winning goal by handling the ball and Asamoah Gyan had the opportunity to send Ghana to the semis with a spot kick

When the official song, “Waka Waka” (This time for Africa), was played nonstop on the radio, the 2010 World Cup in South Africa was the only one when an African side appeared capable of making history by reaching the semifinals.

After reaching the second round in their first tournament debut four years prior, Ghana, who was competing in the tournament for the second time, was eager to capitalize on the topic of Shakira’s song and advance to the last four.

Many thought The Black Stars overachieved at the 2006 World Cup because they advanced from a group that included Italy, the Czech Republic, and the USA before being eliminated by Brazil in the round of 16.

Asamoah Gyan

Asamoah Gyan celebrating a goal for Ghana in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. | PHOTO: Africa Top Sports |

The performances made Ghanaian football popular, and their revenge victory against Brazil in the U20 World Cup final three years later established them as a major force in world football.

Rushing five members of that illustrious Under-20 team, including captain Andre Ayew, to the senior squad was a successful move. Although Asamoah Gyan, Kevin-Prince Boateng, and Sulley Muntari were the team’s true stars, the youthful players were crucial in the Stars’ run to the quarterfinals of the first-ever World Cup held on African territory.

Because the continent’s other four representatives had been eliminated, their advancement to the final eight was a special event for the continent, giving most Africans reason to express tremendous sympathy with the Black Stars.

Although Cameroon and Senegal had previously been to the World Cup quarterfinals, neither team came close to the Black Stars’ performance in the semi-final round. Ghana would have advanced further than ever before if not for the exciting match against Uruguay at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, which is possibly the most unforgettable moment of the competition.

When Muntari gave Ghana the lead, I as a football fan from Africa believed the Black Stars had created history. However, Diego Forlan’s equalizer stunned both me and the Ghanaian squad, forcing the game into extra time.

Luis Suarez

The Luis Suarez handball in the match against Ghana in the 2010 FIFA World Cup quarter-final clash. | PHOTO: 90 MIN |

Late in extra time, Luiz Suarez’s hand prevented Adiyiah from scoring but gave Gyan the chance to secure his place in African football history with a penalty kick.

Unfortunately, Gyan misfired his attempt and stunned millions of Africans by sending it crashing into the crossbar. My feet briefly became numb. In my neighborhood, there was total silence. The realization that he had missed it shocked an entire continent, a shock that eventually gave way to sadness and, for some at least, hatred toward the forward.

In the end, Ghana lost the penalty shootout 4-2; Gyan made up for it by making the first kick, but it wasn’t enough. Gyan received criticism after the game for blocking Captain Stephen Appiah from converting the 120th-minute penalty kick.

The continent’s ambition was never realized, but the 2010 World Cup was nonetheless a stunning event. Also, it’s OK for fairytales to occasionally come to a little unsatisfactory conclusion.

Ghana however did the whole continet proud and we all are looking forward to how African countries will perfrom in the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

This year there are other African countries that look to advance even further. Senegal look the most promising but they are however missing their star forward Sadio Mane who has been ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury.

Morocco with some few European stars including Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi will be hoping to come out of Group F where they will hav eto ace out tough opponents including 2018 finalists Croatia, FIFA world best Belgium and Canada.

Other countries in the 2022 FIFA World Cup from Africa are Cameroon and Tunisia.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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