Uruguay reached the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1970 but ended the hopes of Africa after winning a truly extraordinary match at Soccer City on a penalty shoot-out.
Ghana seemed certain to become the first African side to reach the last four of the competition when Luis Suarez saw red after handling on the line in the dying seconds of extra-time.
However, striker Asamoah Gyan, who had already converted two penalties in South Africa, skimmed the crossbar with the last kick of the game.
Gyan showed incredible guts to take the first spot-kick of the shoot-out but John Mensah and Dominic Adiyiah both had their low strikes saved by Fernando Muslera.
And Sebastian Abreu then showed ice-cold composure to dink the decisive penalty beyond Richard Kingson as Uruguay sealed a semi-final tie against the Netherlands.
Suarez’s deliberate handball, which came seconds after he had legitimately blocked one goal-bound effort with his knee, was a gamble that paid handsome dividends.