(CNN) -- Two-time World Cup winners Uruguay qualified for the quarterfinals for the first time in 40 years with a 2-1 victory over South Korea in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Striker Luis Suarez scored both goals as the South Americans set up a clash with Ghana, who beat the United States 2-1 in extra-time in Saturday's late game.
Uruguay won the first World Cup at home in 1930 and then again in Brazil in 1950.
Coach Oscar Tabarez's team were the last to qualify for this year's tournament after winning a playoff against Costa Rica, but are now the first nation to move past the second-round stage.
"We are a country of only three million people, we have been a long time looking forward to something like this and now it's happened -- we are one of the eight best teams in the world," Tabarez told AFP.
"This Korea side played a great match. This confirms how balanced football has become around the world. "
South Korea coach Huh Jung-Moo was proud of his players, having qualifed for the last 16 as the second-placed team in Group B behind Argentina.
"My players never gave up, they were tenacious and rose to the challenge, they showed they were true Koreans," he said.
"We wanted to go into the quarterfinals, we had lots of chances. Uruguay were lucky enough to score -- we lost because we weren't able to match them."
Suarez benefited from poor defending to score the opening goal in the eighth minute, but his team conceded for the first time in the South African tournament after a similarly lax effort at the back allowed Lee Chung Yong to level on 68.
Having sat back after the opening goal, that spurred the Uruguayans onto attack again and the winning goal came with 10 minutes to play as Suarez curled a superb right-foot effort off the left-hand post and into the net.
South Korea, seeking to emulate 2002's semifinal achievement after an early exit in Germany four years ago, started strongest but gifted Suarez his second goal of the tournament.
The 23-year-old, who was in prolific scoring form for Dutch club Ajax last season, had the easiest of chances after the Korean defense allowed his strike partner Diego Forlan put send over a cross which bobbled past hapless goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong.
Uruguay then seemed happy to allow South Korea to push forward in search of an equalizer, which finally came with 22 minutes to play when Mauricio Victorino's defensive header looped backwards and Lee Chung Yong stole in ahead of goalkeeper Fernando Muslera to head the ball into the unguarded net.
With the rain lashing down in the Eastern Cape city, Uruguay suddenly stormed back into contention as both Suarez and Forlan missed chances.
Suarez made no mistake in the 80th minute after the Koreans failed to clear a corner, with his shot from the left side of the penalty area giving Jung no chance.
South Korea had a chance to level when Lee Dong Gook was set up by a fine through-pass from Park Chu-Young, but the striker's weak shot squirmed under the body of Muslera and the danger was cleared by captain Diego Lugano.