'Final Scoreboard': World Cup Round-Up: Paraguay advances on PKs, Spain ousts Portugal
Paraguay advances on PKs, Spain ousts Portugal
After 120 minutes of play, Paraguay and Japan were all equal at 0-0. That match went to the always drama-filled tiebreaker of penalty kicks where World Cup dreams were kept alive, realized or shattered all together. After Japan's Yuichi Komano hit the crossbar on in the third round, Oscar Cardozo calmly buried the ball in into the back of the net, sending Paraguay 5-3 on PKs into the quarterfinals for the first in the team's history. The inclusion of the Paraguayans into the quarters adds to a South-American dominated tournament where the continent is represented by a team in each match.
While Paraguay controlled possession in the first half, the Japanese had better chances. Midfielder Daisuke Matsui took a poorly cleared ball in the 22nd minute and hit the crossbar on a shot from 25 meters out. Teammate Keisuke Honda just missed wide in the 40th minute. Paraguay wasted a chance in the first 15 minutes of extra time when Claudio Morel fed Nelson Valdez and his sliding effort was stopped by keeper Eiji Kawashima. Paraguay has executed great defense, only conceding one goal in the opening match against Italy. They will face Spain in the quarters on Saturday at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Spain 1 Portugal 0
Striker David Villa finally capitalized in the 63rd minute as Spain sent Portugal home 1-0 in Cape Town. He finished a rebound of with a left-foot shot on a feed from Xavi Hernandez that was denied by Portuguese keeper Eduardo. Spain heads into the quarters looking to shake the stigma of chokers in World cup play and they are seeking to become the first defending Euro Champs to win the Cup since West Germany in 1974. The Spanish attack pressed early in the match, forcing several key saves by Eduardo in the first quarter of the opening half. Portugal's center defense then settled and contained the explosive attack of their neighbors and rivals. Villa scored his fourth goal of the tournament, tying him with Argentina's Gonzalo Higuaín and Slovakia's Róbert Vittek. He stays alive in the race for the Golden Boot, which is awarded to the tournament's leading scorer.
Aside the Spain-Paraguay match up in Ellis Park, the rest of the quarters provide great match-ups and drama as the Cup draws to a close. Brazil-Netherlands will face off in Port Elizabeth and Uruguay-Ghana will meet in Soccer City in Johannesburg on Thursday. The remaining quarterfinal will pit fellow three-time champions Germany and Argentina in Cape Town on Friday. The two countries have faced each other 18 times, with Argentina holding an edge of 8-5 with five draws. Germany defeated the Argentinians in the quarters four years ago penalties 4-2 after a 1-1 draw after regulation and extra time.
By: Brian Cox