Former champions Uruguay take on African hopefuls Ghana | sports | Hindustan Times
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Former champions Uruguay take on African hopefuls Ghana

sports Updated: Jul 02, 2010 12:30 IST

AP
Highlight Story

Uruguay will be chasing their first World Cup semifinal appearance for 40 years while Ghana are bidding to make history for Africa. The quarterfinal match at Soccer City brings together a two-time World Cup winner which has not gone this far since 1970 and another which is in uncharted territory, carrying the weight of an entire continent. The Big Face-offs

For decades, Uruguay has been in the shadow of South American rivals Brazil and Argentina but have now joined them in the last eight at the World Cup on merit. Uruguay vs Ghana

The 1930 and 1950 World Cup winner, Uruguay have a solid defence and a three-pronged attacking formation with Diego Forlan playing just behind Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

Coach Oscar Tabarez went to that system after the team laboured to a 0-0 draw with France, and the result was two strikes by Forlan in a 3-0 victory over hosts South Africa. Uruguay also beat Mexico 1-0 thanks to a goal by Suarez, who then netted two in a 2-1 victory over South Korea. Uruguay have been forced into a change in defence with Diego Godin ruled out with a thigh injury. But Forlan has recovered sufficiently from a damaged toe and will face the Ghanaians.

Ghana are without suspended players Jonathan Mensah and Andre Ayew but striker Asamoah Gyan is expected to recover from an ankle injury he picked up in the second-round victory over the United States. The biggest problem for the last African team left in the competition is the enormous weight of expectations. But Ghana's Serbian coach, Milovan Rajevac, says the prospect of becoming the first team from the continent to reach the last four will motivate his squad.

"We are not thinking about the pressure. We played very well at the African (Cup of) Nations so we have already proved that we are a team that knows how to compete," he said. "We will try to relax. You know it is good for us to be here. We are very happy with the whole situation. We have no obligation but still we want to use this opportunity to do our best and to make history."