Sun, July 04, 2010
Sports > Soccer > 2010 FIFA World Cup

Spain dramatically beat Paraguay 1-0 to meet Germany in semis

2010-07-04 02:43:56 GMT2010-07-04 10:43:56 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

David Villa of Spain celebrates his scoring during the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match against Paraguay at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 3, 2010.Spain won 1-0 and is qualified for the semi-finals. (Xinhua/Wang Yuguo)

Paraguay's Oscar Cardozo (R) reacts after the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match against Spain at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 3, 2010.Spain won 1-0 and is qualified for the semi-finals. (Xinhua/Wang Yuguo)

Iker Casillas, goalkeeper of Spain celebrates the victory after the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match against Paraguay at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 3, 2010.Spain won 1-0 and is qualified for the semi-finals. (Xinhua/Guo Yong)

Carles Puyol (front) of Spain vies with a player of Paraguay during the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 3, 2010. Spain won 1-0 and is qualified for the semi-finals. (Xinhua/Li Ga)

Sergio Ramos (R) of Spain vies with Jonathan Santana of Paraguay during the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 3, 2010. Spain won 1-0 and is qualified for the semi-finals. (Xinhua/Li Ga)

JOHANNESBURG, July 3 (Xinhua) -- After a penalty drama, David Villa's winner gave Spain a 1-0 victory over Paraguay and booked a semifinal clash with Germany, in what will be a repeat of the Euro 2008 final.

In a game that lacked quality for long periods, both sides missed penalties in an incredible three-minute spell in the second half. Oscar Cardozo missed first, but then Xabi Alonso scored and missed after he was forced to retake.

In the 83rd minute, a fantastic run from Iniesta, slaloming through two defenders and laying the ball off to Pedro whose shot rebounded off the post to David Villa. Villa, who had already scored four goals in the World Cup, scrambled the ball home to top the scorers' list. Interestingly, his effort hit both posts before rolling over the line.

The Valencia striker, 29, scored twice in Spain's 2-0 win over Honduras, opened scoring in the 2-1 win over Chile, collected the winner in 1-0 win over Portugal in the Round of 16.

The peanlty drama, however, stunned the world tonight.

In the 56th minute, Paraguay were awarded a penalty for Pique tugging down Cardozo in the box. But a poor penalty from Cardozo gifted Casillas who dived low to his left and held onto the ball.

Then the ball pumped straight down the other end. Alcaraz hacked down Villa to award Spain a penalty. Alonso converted the penalty, but was forced to retake it.

Paraguay keeper Justo Villar, the skipper, dived to his left and saved it.

Besides the two keepers, referee Carlos Batres also became a hero in the drama.

The last time two penalties were saved in the same World Cup match was in 1930 in a match between Argentina and Mexico.

Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino said that his side paid the price for not taking the opportunities.

"We had chances but didn't take them. But never mind. I congratulate my players for their progress at the World Cup," he said.

Spain did not show their best form in the first half, failing to collect a single shot on target. Their eyecatching midfield-controlling football disappeared in face of the opponents' tight defence.

Forward Nelson Valdez got a real chance for Paraguay in the 45th minute when he out paced Puyol, twisting the Barca man this way and that. But his shot went wild, and never troubled Casillas.

After the penalty drama, both teams seemed to be settling into the pattern of play from the first half. But Villa's dramatic goal saved Spain.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said after the game,"We didn't play well mainly because we didn't get enough of the ball."

"We are now amongst the four best teams in the world. Our next opponents are Germany who are the best team at the moment."

Germany, who lost to Spain in the Euro 2008 final, had earlier thumped Argentina 4-0 in Cape Town.

Add Your Comments:

Your Name:
Your Country:
Comment:
(English Only)
 
Please read our Terms of Service. Messages that harass, abuse or threaten others; have obscene or otherwise objectionable content; have spam, commercial or advertising content or links may be removed.

SPECIAL COVERAGE

MOST VIEWED

LATEST VIDEO

PICTURE GALLERY