Ghana beat 10-man Serbia to take African joy to new heights
Asamoah Gyan converted an 85th-minute penalty, awarded after Zdravko Kuzmanovic had inexplicably handled in the area.
Serbia had been playing with ten men since the 75th minute when Aleksandar Lukovic was sent off for a second bookable offence for tugging back Gyan. It was the third red card in the tournament.
The match had earlier followed a similar pattern to many previous matches with little creativity on show and both sides setting out with somewhat of a defensive mindset.
Serbia’s best opening came when already a man down with CSKA Moscow’s Milos Krasic hitting a firm shot straight at Wigan’s Richard Kingson.
Krasic has been tipped to be a star of this World Cup but he showed little to merit that here.
It was Ghana players Kevin-Prince Boateng and man-of-the-match Prince Tagoe who exerted most influence on the match, and in all the Black Stars deserved their victory.
Ghana played with great unity and tireless energy in a display that had echoes of their African Cup of Nations run to the final in January.
England should have been watching this match closely with the runners-up from Group D facing the winners of Group C and vice versa.
It had been expected that Serbia would make the progression but their hopes now look close to extinction. They are now 150/1 to win the World Cup.
A potential last-16 tie with Ghana, though, would on this evidence be quite a test for Fabio Capello’s England.