Saturday, July 03, 2010

Uruguay 1 d Ghana 1 (4-2 on penalties, after no score in extra time)

I tuned into this one at 1-1, early in the second half. The teams seemed pretty evenly matched - Suarez and Forlan were creating chances for Uruguay, and Gyan was looking very impressive for Ghana.

Kevin Prince Boateng apparently was a hero for Ghana against USA in a game I didn't see. But each time I have watched Ghana, I have been amazed by his uselessness. He has the physique of a someone who's been in jail for ten years, and who is not a big reader. Perhaps most of all I hate the tatts  - why would anyone get large dice tattooed on their neck? He is famous for taking one of the worst penalties in history in this year's FA Cup . In the part of the match I saw he did nothing of value.

The last five minutes of extra time were pulsating, with both teams throwing on attacking substitutes and really going for it. Incredibly, Ghana's best attack of the 2nd half came in the last seconds. Suarez saved off the goal-line with his shins, but it was turned back in, and he had no choice but to flail at it with his arms, as did the Uruguayan beside him. Suarez connected, batted the ball out deliberately, and was sent off.

The final act of extra time was the resulting penalty, taken by Gyan for Ghana. If he could put it away, Ghana would be the first ever Africans into the World Cup semi finals. He had all of Africa sitting on his shoulders, and he hit the crossbar. The referee whistled and that was full-time. Suarez, on his way to the showers, was like a condemned man who gets a reprieve. Uruguay were not through yet, but at least they wouldn't go home on his account.

So to the penalty shoot-out. Uruguay had got out of jail, and must have gone into it with a mental advantage. To his credit, Gyan stepped up to take the first for Ghana, and put it away confidently. Uruguay equalised. Ghana scored. Uruguay equalised. Ghana's next penalty from Mensah went too close to the keeper Muslera, who guessed the right way and saved. Uruguay scored again - all theirs had been well taken conventional cannons into the top corner. Under tons of pressure, the Adiyiah did the same as Mensah, and Muslera saved again. Notably no-one asked Boateng to take one.

Now Uruguay led the shootout 2-3 with a penalty in hand, so their next kick could clinch a place in the semis.

Sebastian Abreu took the deftest, cheekiest and most confident penalty I have ever seen. He patiently waited for the keeper to commit, then dinked it over his diving body. Uruguay, twice winners in the early days of the World Cup, are into the semis. I think if they and the Netherlands bring their quarter-final form to the semi, Uruguay will find themselves in the World Cup final for the first time for sixty years.


Nobody said...

Dear Sir

I hope Uruguay get smashed by the mighty Dutch juggernaught. Suarez is a cheat plain and simple, the goal was Ghana (Hope-of-Africa)'s and the offer of a penalty kick a poor second chance offer.

Hopeless Romantic

West Hobart

chris.dadness said...

Nah - that was reflex I think. The fact his mate next to him threw his hands up too - at the sharp end, in the last minute, with so much at stake, that is customary. I wouldn't demonise Suarez. He will miss the next match and that is a blow to his team.

I feel pretty sorry for Ghana and especially Gyan.

Nobody said...

I heard somebody at work today describe it as, "...a South American header."

chris.dadness said...

If Gyan had slotted his penalty it would all be forgotten, y'know.