The knockout round kicked off today at the 2010 World Cup. Two continents could see their last, best hopes for a championship eliminated today. South Korea wasn’t the only Asian side left but were far more likely to be a threat than Japan. Ghana was the last African side in the tournament heading into their clash with the USA.
Uruguay 2 vs. South Korea 1 – The first of the knockout stage games provided all the drama you expect from a do or die game. Uruguay looked like they could walk away with this one after an early goal. In the 8th minute, Diego Forlan played the cross into no one in particular but Luis Suarez streaked in to chip home the loose ball. The problem for Uruguay was that, instead of attacking, they sat back and defended which allowed the Koreans to pour on the pressure. It took South Korea until the 68th minute to deadlock the game when Lee Chung-Yong headed home a free kick. But when it looked like the game was going to extra time, Suarez booted his second goal of the game from distance. Suarez’s pair of goal allowed La Celeste to advance to the quarter-finals where they face the winner of the evening’s matchup.
USA 1 vs. Ghana 2 (ET) – For the second straight World Cup, Ghana foiled the Americans’ chances of winning the title. In the group stages in 2006, Ghana topped the US 2-1 in their final Group E game. One of the storylines heading into this game was revenge for 2006 while Ghana was billed as a continent’s last hope. The Black Stars opened the scoring early in the first half. Just five minutes in, Kevin Prince Boateng went on a run past two defenders and chipped the ball into the goal. The US would need the better part of an hour to answer back. In the 62nd minute, Clint Dempsey was taken down in the box which led to a Landon Donovan penalty kick for a goal. That led us to extra time where, just three minutes in, Asamoah Gyan took a long lead pass and drove a strike over keeper Tim Howard. The US pressed for the tie but couldn’t beat Ghanaian keeper Richard Kingson. While he only made 5 saves, each stopped brilliant opportunities by the Yanks. With the win, Ghana moves on to the quarter-finals where they will face Uruguay.
Man of the Day: Luis Suarez (Uruguay) – 2 goals
Germany (1st Group D) vs. England (2nd Group C)
Argentina (1st Group B) vs. Mexico (2nd Group A)