Archive for Wednesday, June 30, 2010

World Cup: Spain, Paraguay advance to quarterfinals

June 30, 2010

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Spain 1, Portugal 0

Cape Town, South Africa — Spain spent most of the night trying to break through Portugal’s defense. David Villa finally did it.

Spain’s David Villa, second left, celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the World Cup round of 16. His was the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Portugal on Tuesday in Cape Town, South Africa.

Spain’s David Villa, second left, celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the World Cup round of 16. His was the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Portugal on Tuesday in Cape Town, South Africa.

Villa scored off his own rebound in the 63rd minute, giving the European champs a victory Tuesday that put them into the World Cup quarterfinals.

In a game where Spain dominated possession and outshot the Portuguese, Villa took Xavi Hernandez’s heel pass and struck a left-footed shot that was saved by Portuguese goalkeeper Eduardo.

He then fired the rebound with his right foot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net — his fourth goal of the tournament — sprinted to the near corner and slid on his knees to the flag, letting out a mighty yell.

“It was one of my best goals because it got us through to the next round,” Villa said. “Keep scoring so we can keep going.”

Spain plays Paraguay in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

While Villa is tied for the lead in scoring at the World Cup, it was a disappointing tournament for Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s most expensive player. His only goal came late in Portugal’s 7-0 rout of North Korea in group play, and he had a quiet night against Spain.

The game came two years to the day that Spain ended 44 years of international futility by winning the European title. The last defending European champ to also capture the World Cup was West Germany in 1974.

Paraguay 0, Japan 0 (Paraguay wins 5-3 in penalty kicks)

Pretoria, South Africa — Paraguay took the most difficult route to its first World Cup quarterfinals.

After 120 exhausting minutes without scoring, the Paraguayans found their touch in penalty kicks, making all five to beat Japan.

Oscar Cardozo clinched shootout victory after a 0-0 draw with a low left-footed drive past goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima. The only miss in the shootout was by Japan defender Yuichi Komano on the third try when he hit the crossbar. That made the difference.

The Paraguayans are the fourth South American team into the final eight; only Chile fell short, and it lost to Brazil in the second round.

When Cardozo easily beat Kawashima to end the exhausting match and nerve-racking shootout, his teammates stormed onto the field in celebration of the nation’s biggest World Cup win. Cardozo pulled at his jersey, goalkeeper Justo Villar jumped on him, and they were quickly swarmed on by the whole team.

Japanese players watched the final shot on their knees with their arms around each other. When it went into the net, they let go and sagged. Keiji Tamada fell onto his back, while Japanese players and fans wept.

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