Black Stars' potential moment of history
For many years, Ghana had the proudest record in African football and their fans may try to reclaim that status should the Black Stars soar over the brink of history in Soccer City tonight.
Their path to Africa's first semi-finals is blocked by the over-achieving Uruguayans - a nation of four million people - who have won two World Cups and conceded just one goal in South Africa.
Having become the third African quarter-finalists after Cameroon in 1990 and Senegal in 2002, the Black Stars are relishing the prospect of further history - as anyone who's seen their joyful singing on Thursday will attest.
"We're ready to live the ultimate dream," says youngster Samuel Inkoom.
"I don't think Uruguay will be easy but we are capable of winning."
The Black Stars' pioneering past suggests they have every chance. The first team to win the Africa Cup of Nations four times, the west Africans were the continent's inaugural Olympic medallists - taking bronze in 1992 - and have also lifted Fifa's U-17 World Cup trophy twice.
But senior success at global level was absent until a new broom at the Ghanaian FA insisted on using accurate ages in youth tournaments.
"We'd been winning at junior level but the success never translated to the seniors - because players who were supposedly 22 or 23 were already past their prime," says GFA chairman Kwesi Nyantakyi, appointed in 2005, the year before Ghana reached its first World Cup .
The fruits appeared as the Black Satellites became Africa's first Fifa U-20 World Cup champions last October, seeing off Brazil in a final staged on continental soil, in Egypt.
Five members of that squad are in the youngest squad at the World Cup , with 15 players aged 24 and under.
Dede Ayew, Jonathan Mensah and Dominic Adiyiah have all taken to South Africa's pitches but defender Mensah and left-winger Ayew are suspended - and the in-form son of Ghana great Abedi 'Pele', Ayew, will be missed.
Making a timely return from injury is Hoffenheim centre-back Isaac Vorsah, who proved himself at this year's Nations Cup in Angola, where Serb coach Milovan Rajevac displayed his tactical prowess by leading an injury-ravaged side to the final.
Asamoah Gyan is chasing Roger Milla's African World Cup goals record
Youngsters like Vorsah, 22, Inkoom, 20, and Kojo Asamoah, 21, grabbed a vital taste of senior competition with John Mensah, John Paintsil, Stephen Appiah, Laryea Kingson and Michael Essien all out - and the youths ground out incredibly mature wins.
Another notable aspect about Angola was Rajevac's iron discipline. Ghanaians were stunned when Sulley Muntari was left out of the Nations Cup squad for displaying a lack of that discipline, for this was a land where stars had often been begged to play despite previous indiscretions.
And history nearly repeated itself in South Africa when the 56-year-old wanted to banish the Inter player, who was dropped to the bench once more after he spoke out against the coach's tactics in the dressing room after the draw with Australia.
After the Ghana Football Association (GFA) failed to dissuade Rajevac, Stephen Appiah - a leader credited with bringing great unity to the squad - succeeded and the Serb showed his pragmatic qualities when bringing Muntari on against the USA.
Potential disaster had been averted and a man with attitude, but Champions League, Serie A and FA Cup winners' medals as well, may now start in Ayew's absence.
Screening the back four in a 4-1-4-1 formation, the diminutive Anthony Annan is playing so well you almost forget Michael Essien's injury and his positioning will be critical to Ghana's chances of silencing the attacking triumvirate of Edison Cavani, Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan.
In total contrast, Asamoah Gyan makes leading the line single-handedly look easy and is a goal shy of Roger Milla's African World Cup record of five - a far contrast from 2008 when the the-then profligate striker nearly quit the Black Stars after being issued with death threats, until dissuaded by his team-mates.
"We are united," says the 25-year-old. "I always say football is not about fighting, football is fun. We just play with happiness. If you have problems, it is very difficult for you to play."
The Rennes man is in great form - having hit three at both the Nations Cup and World Cup - but midfielder Asamoah, the Udinese youngster who emerged in Muntari's absence in Angola, needs to come alive, while fans are also anxious about Kevin-Prince Boateng's fitness.
All, however, will be roared on by most of Soccer City's 80,000 fans, as well as an entire continent, who will be willing the Black Stars to make Africa proud.
"Whether we win or lose, Ghanaian football has already won," says Abedi Pele. "This has been a collective effort but credit must go to our government for vital funding and to the GFA."
The latter's policies - focusing on youth identification and development, scouring coaches with diligent planning, and paying bonuses on time - are exemplary but will a quarter-final or semi-final spot be the prize?
Or can the Black Stars shock the world and create even greater history?