Drummers and dancers flooded the streets of Ghana's capital Thursday in celebration of their team's unexpected World Cup victory over the United States, with men climbing on car rooftops to wave Ghanaian flags and a rising chant of "Ghana go go go!" filling the city.
"This is a great day for Ghana," said Emelia Ameya, a 52-year-old phone company administrator, amid the uproar. "We have beaten the Americans and go, go, we go!"
This is Ghana's first trip to the World Cup and the Black Stars entered Group E as the genuine underdog _ expected to be brushed aside by the Czech Republic, Italy and the United States.
Yet a win over Czech Republic last week had Ghanaians optimistic of their chances, and their dreams came true Thursday as they became the first African team to advance to the second round.
Ghana President John Kufuor told the BBC that he was so nervous, he locked himself in his office to watch the match alone.
"I didn't want people around me ... so if my nerves had gotten the better of me, nobody would know," Kufuor said on the BBC World Service's NewsHour program.
The city of Accra erected gigantic screens at a few spots but many Ghanaians crowded into restaurants or huddled around electronic shop windows to get a glimpse of TVs displaying the game.
When the Black Stars scored their first goal the near-empty streets exploded with activity people rushed outside and ran up and down the routes, cheering. In one restaurant, fans ran up to the TV screen to try to touch the players.
Then it happened: Ghana had won. A deafening cheer flooded the city. Some men stripped down to their underwear and starting running up and down the streets while others danced while holding miniature replicas of the World Cup above their heads.
Most fans just shouted, danced and honked the nearest car horn. Vehicles themselves barely moved among hordes of dancers and singers, all dressed in Ghana's bright red, green and gold.
"It doesn't matter whether we make it at the next stage or not. For me, beating the Americans alone is a dream come true," said restaurant operator Eric Yamekye, 56.
"Ghana beating U.S., it's no joke. We believe we are going global now," President Kufuor told the BBC.
Only one other African team has the chance to advance past the first round, Tunisia. Angola, Ivory Coast and Togo were all eliminated.
Amid the national revelry, a number of Americans were also sporting Ghana's colors. "Today we are Ghanaians!" shouted one group of expatriate fans, reports AP.
After it turned out that Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov included the Fonbet betting company in the list of backbone enterprises that can count on state support, everyone started talking about these bookmakers.