The World Cup quarterfinal between Ghana and Uruguay was decided by a penalty shootout after both teams failed to score a goal in extra time and Uruguay won 4-2.
Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan took a penalty in the last minute of extra time, after Luis Suarez handled the ball in the area, but his effort hit the corssbar.
Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan who was in tears afterwards will be haunted for years to come after he struck the crossbar with the last kick of extra time.
Then Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera saved two penalties from Black Stars captain John Mensah and Dominic Adiyiah in the shootout. It was a crackerjack 120 minutes of action-packed soccer.
But Africa will have to wait until at least 2014 before the continent has the chance to have a side in the World Cup semi-finals for the first time.
Gyan showed great courage by taking Ghana's first penalty in the shootout and firing into the net with a great spot kick but Ghana's nerve failed them in the shootout.
It was the second time in the World Cup that a match has been decided on a penalty shootout.
The second round clash between Paraguay and Japan played at Loftus on Tuesday was won by the South Americans 5-3 after a goalless 120 minutes.
The first half ended sensationally when Ghana midfield star Sulley Muntari scored with a stunning 35 minute bullet that flew past Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera with the last kick of referee Olegario Benquerenca's option time.
It was a brilliant strike and had the capacity South African crowd of 84 017 who were supporting their adopted African brothers "BaGhana BaGhana" on the feet screaming in delight.
But Ghana were under the cosh in the first 25 minutes and rarely got out of their half. The South Americans went at the West Africans from the opening whistle and had Ghana under a lot of pressure.
It was the Black Stars who managed to weather the storm and finish the half stronger and deservedly led by the sensational strike from Inter Malan's Muntari.
Uruguay suffered a blow in the 38th minute when their captain and defensive strongman Diego Lugano was forced to leave the field.
The Turkish based defender was replaced by Andres Scotti. Uruguay relied heavily on their star striker Diego Forlan who took all the free kicks, corners and was involved in most of the build-up during the early stages of the half where Uruguay were in control.
Forlan, the Atletico Madrid ace set up Alvaro Fernandez in the third minute with a defence splitting ball to the right. Fernandez hit the crossbar with his shot.
Another early dangerman for Uruguay was centre forward Luis Suarez who teased his way through the Ghana defence in the 11th minute, managed to cut inside form the left flank and tested keeper Richard Kingson with a rasping shot which the Wigan goalkeeper did well to save.
Kingson came to the rescue again in the 18th minute when he dealt with a header by Edinson Cavani from another Forlan corner. Forlan shot over the crossbar with a speculative 20 metre drive in the 25th minute.
Kingson did well again in the 29th minute to block another shot from Suarez, the Ajax Amsterdam striker.
But then Ghana got their second wind and showed tremendous fighting spirit to take the game by the scruff of the neck. They had the South Americans under a lot of trouble for the remaining 15 minutes of the half. Ghana's Isaac Vorsah headed agonisingly wide from a 30th minute corner.
Gyan was fractionally wide of the target a minute later when he clipped a great cross from Kevin Prince Boateng.
Then Muntari headed across the goalmouth in the 39th minute as Ghana had Uruguay's backs to the wall.
Boateng who plays for Portsmouth then showed some breathtaking skills and came close to scoring with a spectacular overhead kick that just missed the goal by whisker on 45 minutes.
The appreciative crowd roared their approval. But the pressure paid off when Muntari 35 metres out lashed in a stunning striker that beat Muslera hands down two minutes into injury time.
The crowd were silenced in the 55th minute when Forlan, who took over the captain's armband, smashed home a brilliant free kick giving Kingson no chance to level this absorbing quarterfinal clash.
Ghana tried to hit back in the 58th minute but Muslera did well to parry a well struck close range shot from Gyan. Ghana had a lucky escape in the 63rd minute when Suarez came close to making it 2-1 when he connected a cross form Forlan but the Dutch based striker's volley hit the side netting.
Uruguay regained the upper hand and it took a save from Kingson to stop the ever dangerous Suarez from scoring from point blank range in the 70th minute.
Gyan tired to capitalise on a defensive mistake but fired his 20 metre shot straight at the wide awake Muslera in the 73rd minute. Five minutes later Suarez headed another good Forlan free kick centimetres wide of the upright.
Then Uruguay ‘s Maximilliano Pereira should have made it 2-1 in the 81st minute but with the goal at his mercy the Portuguese based player shot over the crossbar.
But with neither side giving an inch in this nail biting clash the match went into extra time. Ghana piled on the pressure in extra time.
Gyan had a chance to score in the 110th minute but he headed over the crossbar form close range. Good defending by Scotti prevented Gyan scoring the winner in the 114th minute.
Then Boateng who headed agonisingly over the upright form close range with two minutes of extra time remaining.
But the drama went to the final seconds when Suarez handled substitute Adiyiah shot on the goalline and was sent off by referee Benquerenca who awarded Ghana a penalty.
But Gyan wilted under pressure and hit the crossbar with his last second spot kick to take the game to a penalty shootout lottery.