Ghana bowed out of the World Cup on penalties in the most heartbreaking circumstances after one of the most amazing finishes to a match the World Cup has ever seen.
Luis Suarez had used his hands to keep out a header in the last minute of extra-time but his red card will be no solace to the Black Stars after Asamoah Gyan's spot-kick hit the bar and Uruguay triumphed 4-2 in the shoot-out following the 1-1 draw.
Soccer City was deathly silent as Ghana players collapsed in tears, while Uruguay celebrated their first semi-final appearance, in which they will play Holland, for 40 years.
The South Americans' goalkeeper Fernando Muslera was the hero, saving twice from John Mensah, the Sunderland centre-back, and Dominic Adiyiah, but there was a nasty taste left in the mouth as Suarez was carried shoulder high by his team.
This had been a thrilling, exhilarating, and no-holds barred contest full of thunderous tackles and fierce commitment that really set this World Cup alight.
Sulley Muntari, almost sent home earlier on in the tournament after a bust up with Ghana's Serbian coach Milovan Rajevac, had given his side the lead before Diego Forlan equalised with a viciously-swerving free-kick for his third goal of the finals.
Muntari struck in first-half injury time when he hit a speculative shot from 30 yards out, Asamoah Gyan ducked and Uruguay keeper Muslera was caught flat-footed as the ball sneaked into the corner.
It looked ominous for Ghana when John Pantsil swept away Jorge Fucile's legs on the edge of the box, and Forlan produced the perfect free-kick that went over the wall and dipped under the crossbar.
Uruguay should have taken the lead when Forlan produced an outstanding cross that cut out the entire defence. You would have put your house on Suarez volleying home at the far post but instead he rippled the side-netting.
An incredible last minute saw Suarez sent off for saving Adiyiah's header on the line with his fist, and Gyan smashing the penalty against the bar. Then came the shoot-out, and terrible agony for Ghana.