JOHANNESBURG - Paraguay left the World
Cup with their heads held high on Saturday after giving
European champions Spain a headache before succumbing to a 1-0
defeat, coach Gerardo Martino said.
The South Americans, playing in their first World Cup
quarter-final, came close to reaching the semi-finals in a
dramatic and chaotic game at Ellis Park stadium in which both
sides missed penalties.
"We could have made it into the semi-finals, that's the
feeling that I have," said Martino.
"We've played with all our heart, we lost the game at the
very end. We played with Spain on an equal footing but it was
not enough in the end."
Spain had to work harder than expected to break through
Paraguay's defence to make it to the last four at the World Cup
for the first time since 1950.
Forward Oscar Cardozo, who failed to convert a penalty that
would have put Paraguay in front, said he felt some
responsibility for the defeat.
"I feel a bit guilty personally because of the missed
penalty. If I'd have scored, I think things would have been
different," he told reporters.
"But we feel at ease with ourselves because we gave it our
all. We made history and we played really well. We're going
with our heads held high."
Striker Roque Santa Cruz said the South Americans had been
"We played a great game but we lacked a bit of luck."
When asked about his future, coach Martino dodged the
question, saying it was not the time to think about whether he
would stay on.
"With or without me, there will be a new phase," the
"It was a game where we showed we could have come out
winners. Now we have to resign ourselves to this tough blow."
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