South American Futbol - Libertadores, Sudamericana, World Cup 2010

Paraguay sneaks into the World Cup quarterfinals

Paraguay rejoices after winning the shootout

On Tuesday, Paraguay defeated Japan 5-3 on penalties to progress to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time ever after the teams were tied at 0-0 after extra time. Oscar Cardozo of Paraguay converted the game-changing penalty kick. Yuichi Komano of Japan failed to convert the shootout’s lone penalty, sending his shot off the crossbar.

While both sides approached the game cautiously, Paraguay had the majority of possession in the opening half and nearly scored when Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima parried a shot from Lucas Barrios in the 20th minute.

A long-range Daisuke Matsui shot that clipped the woodwork two minutes later, though, put Japan considerably closer to scoring first. Then Keisuke Honda curled a beautiful attempt just wide five minutes before halftime.

After the interval, Gerardo Martino’s team played better football overall, but they were unable to produce many quality scoring opportunities.

Their greatest opportunity may have come in the 56th minute when Edgar Benitez’s point-blank strike was well stopped by Nakazawa. Three minutes later, with a header, midfielder Christian Riveros also had the opportunity to give Paraguay the lead.

After 120 minutes of football that ended scoreless, neither team managed to score, and the game was settled by a penalty shootout.

The Benfica goal machine Cardozo, who came on for Roque Santa Cruz in extra time, scored the goal that advanced Paraguay—who had only given up one goal all tournament—to a 5-3 victory in the penalty shootout.

The quarterfinal matchup between Paraguay and Spain, the 1-0 winner over Portugal, is up next. After Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil, Paraguay was the fourth South American team to get to the competition’s last eight.



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