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.