Paraguay held their nerve to
beat Japan 5-3 on penalties on Tuesday to reach the World Cup
quarter-finals for the first time after the match had finished
in a goalless stalemate.
Japan's Yuichi Komano hit the crossbar with his team's third
spot-kick, the only one missed in the first penalty shootout of
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became the fourth South American team in the
last eight joining Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, will now meet
Spain or Portugal.
on our side. Now we want more," said Paraguay coach
Gerardo Martino, who was in floods of tears at the end of the
"Thank god we got
through, Paraguay have never gone so far,"
said striker Oscar Cardozo, who scored Paraguay's winning
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"We are all very
happy, me because I scored the penalty and
got it in, thank God. It was a very difficult match because
Japan too have very good players."
The South Americans had enjoyed
more possession during the
0-0 draw which produced relatively few clear goal chances at
A cagey opening
brought few clear-cut chances but the game
sparked to life in the 20th minute, Eiji Kawashima saving with
his knee from Lucas Barrios, then Daisuke Matsui cracking the
Paraguay crossbar with a curling 25-metres effort.
An out-of-sorts Honda had his
first clear sight of goal in
the 38th minute, striking the ball first time with the outside
of his favoured left foot just past the post.
Paraguay looked set to open the
scoring 10 minutes into the
second half when Edgar Benitez broke into the left side of the
penalty area but his shot was deflected wide by Yuji Nakazawa.
Japan, who had torn Denmark apart
in their final group game
with some delightful free-flowing football, struggled to maintain
possession in the second half and their trademark quick-fire
counter-attacks fizzled in the final third.
With the score tied at 0-0 after
90 minutes, Japan made a
bright start to extra time, Yoshito Okubo bearing down on the
Paraguay defence with a surging run from deep in his own half.
Paraguay almost unlocked the
Japanese defence seven minutes
into extra time when Claudio Morel released substitute Valdez in
the box but goalkeeper Kawashima got out smartly to block.
Paraguay's Edgar Barreto had his
head in his hands moments
later when the ball dropped to him in a crowded penalty area but
he could do no better than flick the ball over the bar.
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