By Shai Mamou
Photo from fOTOGLIF
So many people in Africa and around the world believed it could happen… Last African team in the final 8, Ghana touched their dream but could not catch it, losing after a tearing penalty shoot-out against Uruguay (1-1, 4-2). Let’s admit it, this game was clearly not the best of the World Cup in terms of quality. But what an intense atmosphere and a struggle on the field! Obviously tired after the game against the USA, the Black Stars tried to compensate by determination and courage to face an amazingly tough uruguayan team. Even without Diego Lugano, injured before half time, Oscar Tabarez managed to keep the balance in his team. I have been impressed by Diego Perez and Jorge Fucile. I know Perez for a long time because he has been playing in France since six years. In the French championship, the referees really don’t like him. I mean, he is a very agressive player and often gets yellow cards. The refereeing in France prevents him to do is job, it is to say cleaning the midfield by all means… Fucile is currently playing in Portugal, for FC Porto. I can’t say how many miles this guy is running per game but he is very complete. Offensively he is dangerous, defensively he is a pitbull!
I think Ghana missed André Ayew tonight. His relationship on the field with the other Ghana’s revelation, Kevin-Prince Boateng (hated by the Germans because he injured Michael Ballack before the World Cup) was fundamental in the previous games. Muntari, the fallen star of the squad, did his best to lead the team and even scored a fantastic goal. But his influence in the team is questionable… I have to say that when Suarez saved a goal with his hand on the line at the last minute of the extratime conceding a penalty kick, I was already imagining all the joy in African fans eyes. But Asamoah Gyan, who also plays in France (Stade Rennais), hit the crossbar… He is a discrete player in the French Championship but then showed an amazing courage, being the first to take the chance in the penalty shoot-out and to score. But Muslera, the Celeste goalkeeper that I have found impressing during this competition, saved two shots and sent his country in heaven.
It still misses something to the African teams to win big games… Let’s hope for them the future will be promising and will award their football, spectacular and passionate. Now Uruguay has to face the Netherlands, a big machine since the beginning of the WC. Something tells me that without Luis Suarez, sent off against Ghana, the task will be too hard for them. Except if Forlan, who tore the nets with a splendid free kick tonight, keeps on being so strong…