This has been a groundbreaking tournament for Africa but it has also been one laced with regret. Fresh on the heels of the hosts being knocked out, Nigeria were also eliminated in Durban, with South Korea navigating a route through Group B to qualify for the last 16.
They will play Uruguay in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, leaving Nigeria to curse their second-half profligacy in a game that leaves the host continent facing the possibility of not having a single representative in the next stage. Cameroon are already out, the Ivory Coast are on the cusp and that leaves only Algeria and Ghana, both of whom could feasibly play their last game in the competition today/tomorrow. Nigeria did, at least, leave their mark on this World Cup, although not in the way Yakubu Ayegbeni would have liked, the Everton striker winning hands down the award for miss-of-the-tournament, somehow shooting wide when presented with an open goal from three yards.
Yakubu did make amends, partially, by scoring the penalty that levelled the match at 2-2 but it was a mistake that could wake him in a cold sweat for years to come. Argentina's defeat of Greece meant a Nigeria win would have seen them qualify, and they will rue the way they could not build on Kalu Uche's early goal.
The breakthrough came after 12 minutes when Chidi Odiah, the right-back, accelerated along the flank, beating two men in the process, before sending a low cross into the penalty area. Cha Doo-ri, the South Korean defender, was in position to clear but, crucially, hesitated. Uche was far more decisive, darting in front of his opponent to sweep the ball in from 12 yards.
Uche also struck the post with a 25-yard drive after 35 minutes but the game was level with South Korea's next attack. Ki Sung-yeung swung a free-kick into the penalty area and Lee Jung-soo stole in behind Rabiu Afolabi to prod the ball beyond the goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama. The Koreans took the lead four minutes into the second half when Park Chu-young curled in a free-kick but the game was levelled again after Kim Nam II's clumsy challenge on Chinedu Ogbuke Osadi. From 12 yards Yakubu was a lot more accurate than he had been from three.
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