Ghana's painful penalty shoot-out quarter-final defeat against Uruguay was plastered across the country's media on Saturday which described it as heart-breaking.

The country's biggest selling and state funded newspaper the Daily Graphic had as its frontpage headline "Uruguay end Stars dream" after the two-time champions had beaten the Black Stars 4-2 on penalties after the game ended 1-1 after extra time. However, the Ghanaians had a golden opportunity to prevent penalties and win it at the death when Luis Suarez was sent-off for punching the ball away from crossing the line only for Asamoah Gyan to hit the crossbar with the resulting penalty.

The Daily Graphic dedicated its editorial to the performance of the Black Stars saying that although they were "gallant losers", it was just a "heart-breaking" experience as the only remaining title hopes for the African continent was shattered by the penalties defeat.

The Ghanaian Times, another government owned daily had for its banner headline "History slips from the Stars".

"It has been a painful exit. Throughout the world, everybody with African blood in his or her veins was upbeat about the chances of the Black Stars," it said. "The prayer of this paper is that there would be no finger-pointing. Let there be no blame game. Our boys have gone to a battle and acquitted themselves creditably," the paper said.

The Daily Guide, Ghana's most widely read of about a dozen privately-owned papers, ran a frontpage headline as "Stars break hearts". It said it was a heart-breaking end to a hitherto successful campaign that had seen the Ghana squad carry the hopes and aspirations of the entire African continent which is hosting its first FIFA World Cup™ in history. "Indeed, African leaders including Nelson Mandela, had declared their support for the Black Stars but at the end... it was the South Americans that snatched victory," it said.

Continental view
Elsewhere in Africa the media sympathised with the gallant display of the Ghanaians, who had come through a difficult group consisting of Germany, Serbia and Australia and beaten USA in extra time of their Round of 16 match. The Citizen front page was headlined "Ghana Gutted: last African team pay the penalty" with a picture of Ghana's midfielder Stephen Appiah kneeling on the pitch, head down, after losing the penalty shoot-out.

"Uruguay played the role of party poopers once again as Ghana's World Cup dream was ended on a dramatic night at Soccer City," the newspaper said inside, showing a picture of Uruguay's celebratory Sebastian Abreu. "Despite a miss from Max Pereira, Abreu took full advantage to break the hearts of an entire continent," said the newspaper. The Saturday Star front page carried a side bar headlined "Africa mourns as Ghana pay the penalty".

"They carried the hope of a continent on football's greatest stage but left the throbbing mass of green, yellow and red with heartache," it said. On the sport pages, one article was headlined: "Going, going, Ghana": "Africa's last remaining hope crushed by penalty lottery".

"Inconsolable and disconsolate, Asamoah Gyan clung on to a team-mate at the end of this FIFA World Cup quarter-final fully aware that his final minute penalty miss had not only cost Ghana dear, but an entire continent".

Another article said "So many 'ifs' and 'should haves' but the African dream has now gone". The same message was carried by the Zimbabwean press.

"Africa's dream shattered," ran the headline in The Herald which carried a front-page picture of Gyan being consoled by team-mates after missing his extra-time penalty - he was bravely to step up and take the first one in the penalty shoot-out and convert it.

"It was a cruel end to the game," the newspaper said. "This was Africa's finest chance to make the last four and the Black Stars - who fought with the right spirit for the entire match - came close, yet ended very far from making it. Sadly Gyan missed and as he cried last night, Africa cried with him."