JOHANNESBURG - Spain goalkeeper Iker
Casillas won praise from both winning and losing coaches on
Saturday for saves that proved decisive in sending the European
champions to the World Cup semi-finals.
Casillas saved a penalty from Paraguay's Oscar Cardozo and
made a crucial double block at the end of Spain's 1-0 win to
thwart attempted equalisers by Lucas Barrios and Roque Santa
"Casillas has been extraordinary. He made two magnificent
stops and he certainly contributed to our success," Spain coach
Vicente del Bosque told reporters after the match.
Striker David Villa's goal with seven minutes remaining at
Ellis Park sent Spain through to a last four clash with Germany,
who thrashed Argentina 4-0 earlier in the day.
Casillas's 59th-minute penalty save had, however, crucially
kept the scores at 0-0 when a goal would have been a big blow to
a Spanish side that had the bulk of possession but could not find
a way through a well-organised Paraguay defence.
Casillas said after the game that reserve goalkeeper Pepe
Reina had told him which way to dive, suggesting Cardozo would
not go the same way as he did in the penalty shootout with Japan.
"The match was enough to give you a heart attack. A lot of
thanks go to Reina who told me which way he was going to shoot,"
Spain's team and bench rushed onto the field and mobbed
Casillas at the end of the game.
Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino echoed Del Bosque's comments
on the Real Madrid keeper, saying Spain's captain played a key
role in his side's defeat.
"Undoubtedly he has been decisive," he said.
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