USA sent out of the World Cup by Ghana
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Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan scored in extra time to send Africa’s last World Cup hope into the quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory over the United States.
The Black Stars booked a last-eight meeting with Uruguay on Friday at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium.
The South Americans had secured their progress with a 2-1 victory over South Korea earlier on Saturday.
Ghana become only the third African team to reach a World Cup quarter-final, matching the achievements of Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002.
“I am the happiest man in the world,” said Gyan.
“In 2006 we made the second round, now we have gone a step further. We have made Ghana proud and the whole of Africa proud.”
The Black Stars, who also defeated the Americans to eliminate them from the 2006 tournament at the group phase, are the last of six African teams that began the first World Cup on African soil.
Kevin-Prince Boateng gave the Africans the lead in the fifth minute but the Americans, who fought back to draw after falling behind against England on the same pitch two weeks ago, equalised in the 62nd minute via a Landon Donovan penalty.
Former US President Bill Clinton and British rock legend Mick Jagger watched as four-time African champion Ghana denied an attacking US side the decisive goal late in normal time, setting the stage for two 15-minute extra-time periods.
The wait for the game’s pivotal moment lasted only three minutes.
Ghana’s Andre Ayew launched a high, bouncing pass upfield to Gyan, who tried to keep control as he was bumped into by US captain Carlos Bocanegra — Gyan’s friend and team-mate with French club Rennes.
Gyan came away with the ball and met it on the bounce two strides later to blast a left-footed shot over US goalkeeper Tim Howard for his third goal of the tournament, taking him to a share of the lead in the goalscoring chart.
The Black Stars, whose only goals before the match had come from two Gyan penalty kicks, had to be wary of a US side known for late-match dramatics.
The Americans had rallied to draw 1-1 with England, come from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Slovenia and edged Algeria 1-0 thanks to a Donovan goal in stoppage time that put the US squad into the last 16 and into Ghana’s path.
Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson, the third-choice keeper for English side Wigan last season, had already been heroic in thwarting the Americans time and again in the second half and he anchored a Black Stars defence that denied them to the final whistle.
A US corner just into extra-time injury time saw the Americans send goalkeeper Tim Howard into attack to try and net the equaliser but the extra attacker was not enough for another Stars and Stripes miracle finish.
The US team failed in a bid to match their 2002 quarter-final run and win back-to-back Cup matches for the first time in 80 years, while they have still not won a World Cup match in which they trailed.
Yellow cards issued to Ghana defender Johnathan Mensah and midfielder Ayew mean they will miss the match against Uruguay, who became the first country to make it into the World Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over South Korea at a sodden Nelson Mandela Bay stadium.
© AAP 2013
World Cup quarter-final match-ups (times AEST):
At Port Elizabeth
Netherlands or Slovakia v Brazil or Chile 0000
At Johannesburg (Soccer City)
Uruguay v Ghana 0430
At Cape Town
Argentina or Mexico v England or Germany 0000
At Johannesburg (Ellis Park)
Japan or Paraguay v Portugal or Spain 0430
Note: Drawn matches go to extra time and penalty shoot-out if necessary
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