Nigeria needed just one more goal in their 2-2 draw with South Korea to go through but missed a hatful of chances including a sitter from Yakubu, who shot wide of an unguarded goal from five yards when his side were trailing 2-1.
"You would have put your house on him to score that," said Etuhu. "But everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. We had our chances but weren't good enough to finish them and it's over now."
But he would not blame the Everton forward, a target for West Ham. "He is a top striker, a great player and I love playing with him. It could have happened to anyone and it's done now.
"We had a lot of chances in this World Cup to get the points we needed but it was a case of 'almost, almost' and now we are out."