• Date: Thu 24 June 2010
  • Venue: Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane
  • Ref: Nishimura, Y
  • Attendance: 34,850

Paraguay vs New Zealand

Team Lineups


Justo Villar
Claudio Morel Rodriguez
Denis Caniza
Julio Cesar Caceres, JC
Paulo Da Silva
Enrique Torres Vera
Victor Caceres, V
Cristian Riveros
Oscar Cardozo (Lucas Barrios, 66)
Roque Santa Cruz
Nelson Haedo Valdez (Edgar Benitez, 67)

New Zealand

Mark Paston
Tony Lochhead
Winston Reid
Ivan Vicelich
Ryan Nelsen
Tommy Smith
Simon Elliott
Leo Bertos
Shane Smeltz
Chris Killen (Jeremy Brockie, 79)
Rory Fallon (Chris Wood, 69)

Match Report
New Zealand held Paraguay to a goalless draw in Polokwane that saw the resilient All Whites to third place in Group F, while the South Americans finished top and go through to the Round of 16. Any supporters of the two teams who were unfortunate enough to be present for the first half would at least have been able to keep tabs on events in Johannesburg, as Robert Vittek's goal for Slovakia was the most exciting event of the first half. Both teams had opportunities to create chances but were lacking invention in the final third and looked tired all over the pitch. Roque Santa Cruz was an occasional exception for Paraguay, creating their best chance of the half by floating out to the right wing and chipping a ball into the path of Denis Caniza, who hit a vicious half-volley wide of the right-hand post. Caniza at least helped Paraguay come out as the statistical victors of the first half by hitting around five shots towards Mark Paston's goal, even if they all ended up in a similar position amongst the sleeping fans. New Zealand at least created some half-chances for themselves in the second period, the kind that need to be taken if a team has intentions on getting further in the World Cup. Simon Elliott, whose free-kicks were the most likely source if a goal for a team lacking creativity, was found in space on the edge of the box three minutes into the half, but he could only find the stanchion behind the goal. A Shane Smeltz header in the 84th minute was the next chance the All Whites could muster, but that flew well wide and Chris Wood couldn't stretch far enough to reach Smeltz's deep cross five minutes later, although he had been flagged offside. Paraguay grew as the second half went on and, while they were always going to be happy with a draw, began to show touches of ability. Only goalkeeper Paston saved New Zealand, first from a Cristian Riveros header after an hour, then with 15 minutes to go by parrying Edgar Benitez's shot then flicking the rebound away from the onrushing Lucas Barrios. Paraguay didn't show enough invention to earn more than a point, while New Zealand can go home proud at having not lost a match at the World Cup.
Live Text Commentary
Full time

PARAGUAY 0-0 NEW ZEALAND: It's been an ugly, dull affair but Paraguay won't care, they've won Group F. New Zealand are out but havn't lost all tournament and can be proud


New Zealand at least manage to get the ball into Paraguay's box for a final time but they don't look like finding the net


Benitez wins a free-kick on the edge of New Zealand's box. All this time the All Whites are defending they are loosing time to score and stay in the competition


Barrios wins a cheap free-kick in the opposing half which Paraguay will aim into the box but aren't too bothered about scoring


Wood almost found himself on the end of Smeltz's low cross from the left but he couldn't stretch far enough and was ruled offside anyway


Paraguay defend well though, even if Bertos managed to get a shot off from the loose ball, hitting it well but straight at a Paraguay body


A free-kick to New Zealand, 50 yards out on the left. They need to make this count now


Santa Cruz hits another free-kick from an identical spot to that four minutes ago, only this time he crossed but the head he found placed the ball well wide


Smeltz does well to win a header from Bertos' cross but he can't find the power or the accuracy


A cross from the left finds the head of the lively Barrios but his flicked effort goes wide of the right-hand post


Santa Cruz and Rodriguez almost swung for the dead ball at the same time but the Man City star took it and hit the shot well, but straight at Paston


Santa Cruz is brought down by Smith in a dangerous position, slightly left of centre but only 25 yards out


A good time for a change of pace for the All Whites as Killen goes off and Jeremy Brockie comes on


New Zealand look to be tiring now as Paraguay's subs liven up their attack


A good pass over the top finds Santa Cruz who pulled the ball back for Benitez at the edge of the box, took one touch and forced an excellent save out of Paston who couldn't hold on but tipped the ball away from the onrushing Barrios


Paraguay may be tempted to shut up shop now that Italy are two goals down against Slovakia, putting the South Americans comfortably top of the group


A long free-kick from Elliott caused a bit of trouble in the Paraguay box as the defence managed to win the initial header but scrambled the ball out to Tommy Smith, 30 yards out, who had his shot blocked


New Zealand have lost their attacking impetus for the moment but they'll need it back at some stage - they are going out of the World Cup as it stands


Fallon has had a quiet game is replaced in a like-for-like subsitutation by Chris Wood


Barrios is involved straight away, hitting a shot from the right side of the penalty area over the bar. He's caught the shooting bug already


Valdez takes his time coming off but does find his way to the touchline eventually, where Edgar Benitez is waiting for him


Here come the changes. Cardozo is off, replaced by Lucas Barrios


As many shots on goal in two seconds there than we've had all match. Paraguay at least look like they will be making a change soon


Rodriguez took the corner short where Caniza found the head of Riveros but Paston was equal to the test, palming the ball out to Cardozo who couldn't get his shot through the maze of New Zealand legs


A good flick-on from Santa Cruz gave Vera a chance to cross from the right but Reid blocked the attempt at the expense of a corner


Paraguay are getting themselves more into the match this half, pressing forward down the right before Fallon is fouled by Caceres


The ref takes a long time over the wall but finally Paraguay take it and Cardozo wastes it, curling the shot high over the bar

Yellow Card

Nelsen is booked for complaining about the awarding of the free-kick


A dangerous looking run through the middle from Santa Cruz ends only when Reid blocks his path, giving away a free-kick in a central area, 25 yards out


It's New Zealand that are looking more like the South American team here, playing smart one-touch football around the Paraguay area before Fallon's lay-off to Bertos went astray


Rodriguez took the set-piece, curling it away from goal and behind most of the Paraguay players in the box, leaving New Zealand to clear


Reid is unlucky to concede a free-kick near his left-side corner flag as he and Valdez tustled for the ball. A good chance now for Paraguay


Paraguay continue to look lost going forward. They either need to bring Santa Cruz into play more or make some changes to their approach


A good strike from Elliott livens the half up, as a mistake from Caniza gave Smeltz the chance to lay a pass off to Elliott at the edge of the box but his shot, while well hit, was a couple of yards wide


The second half begins and New Zealand will at least need it to be more exciting than the first as it is they who need a goal

Half time

PARAGUAY 0-0 NEW ZEALAND: It's not been an exciting half here in Polokwane but New Zealand are still one goal away from the second round while Paraguay are topping the group as it stands


A chance late in the half as Elliot swings over a free-kick from near the halfway line. It found the bundle of players but no player from either side could get a decisive touch


Paraguay will have to re-consider their plans at half time, even though they are winning the group as it stands. They won't want to be drawing towards the end of the match when New Zealand have proved they are dangerous

Yellow Card

Santa Cruz is booked after a couple of rough tackles one after the other down the Paraguay left. The striker committed the first one, stamping on Ivan Vicelich's foot


New Zealand could do with being more thoughtful when they get the ball in the final third of the pitch. They won't see much of the ball there and can't waste it as Simon Elliott does with a heavy cross


Nelsen shows up Cardoza for pace, winning the race to shield out a ball over the top of the New Zealand defence


Paraguay are at least refusing to get frustrated by New Zealand, who are happy just stopping their opponents playing, although they are hitting too many long shots as Oscar Cardozo hits another 30-yarder well over the bar


More good work from Bastos down the right and this time there is a cross too which was underneath the crossbar where Villar catches it before Fallon can apply a finish


A save to make for Paston at last as Valdez hits a low shot from 25 yards but it was straight at the goalkeeper


New Zealand have worked hard in the last few minutes, not giving Paraguay much time on the ball and stopping their forward progress. Caniza resorts to a long ball which Valdez can't reach before Paston grabs it


Leo Bertos does well down the right, beating two players but only winning a throw-in after Rodriguez seemed to use his hand to stop the ball after it has passed him


A tricky cross from Killen, who clipped the ball in from the byline, is well held by Justo Villar from underneath his own crossbar


The right-back Caniza continues to search for his shooting boots, as he lashes another optimistic effort well over the bar from 25 yards


Paraguay are starting to pick up the pace here and they will be bouyed by the news that Slovakia are beating Italy, putting the South Americans top of Group F


Vera very nearly found himself in a one-on-one situation with Paston but the ball aimed towards him was a touch too heavy


Santa Cruz is getting more and more involved and it's his surging run through the middle which causes a touch of panic in New Zealand's back line but they clear their lines eventually


A good through-ball from Valdez almost found its way through to Santa Cruz in the box but good defending from Ryan Nelsen snuffs out the danger


Vera is felled in midfield by a tough sliding tackle from Tony Lochhead but the left-back manages to avoid a booking


Finally Paraguay find their shooting boots after excellent control from Santa Cruz in the area gave Enrique Torres Vera a shot which was well hit but blocked, leaving Caniza to strike the loose ball just wide


Santa Cruz drifted out to the right to pick up the ball and played a clever pass over the defence for the onrushing Caniza but again his shot is wild and no where near the goal


An excellent run from Nelson Valdez down the left, where he flew past two tackles, is let down by the final ball over to Roque Santa Cruz which was too high for the Manchester City forward


Rodriguez took the set-piece and sent it towards the penalty spot but New Zealand won the header, clearing as far as Caniza who hit a tough half-volley a few yards wide


A foul by Killen gives Paraguay the chance to causes some trouble with a free-kick from the left wing


Paraguay continue to struggle to keep the ball, which isn't what we expected from the South Americans. New Zealand have been barely tested at the back yet


The resulting free-kick was dangerous, aimed in for the far post and away from the defensive line but a touch too heavy for Chris Killen who had gone for a back-post run

Yellow Card

Victor Caceres is booked for stamping on Fallon as they rose together, challenging for a header


Neither team have been able to get their passing going in the early stages even if a few set pieces and crosses have caused a touch of danger. Fallon is the target for a long free-kick this time but he commits a foul


New Zealand have started, as expected, by using Plymouth Argyle's Rory Fallon as a target man and looking for balls off him. It works this time as the knock-down is played to Smeltz in the box but he can't control the pass


Denis Caniza is getting forward well down the right side and was almost found by an adventurous cross-field pass but the 35-year-old couldn't quite catch up with it


A dangerous run from Shane Smeltz, who cut in from the left wing, doesn't have an end product as hit shot from the edge of the box flies wildly over the bar


An early free-kick on the right side for Paraguay is taken by Claudio Morel Rodriguez, who curls the ball in towards the goal where Paston takes the catch uncontested


New Zealand kick the match off, while over in Johannesburg Italy have started their clash with Slovakia, where both teams here will be keeping an ear out for the score

Awaiting Kickoff

Paston plays behind the same ten players that were so impressive last week, holding Italy to a 1-1 draw. Centre-backs Ryan Nelsen and Winston Reid were key then and will ba again today if New Zealand are to progress

Awaiting Kickoff

New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert will have wondered whether to bring back pre-tournament number one Glen Moss for goalkeeper Mark Paston but the latter has impressed enough to keep his place

Awaiting Kickoff

Paraguay, who need a draw or a win to progress, have given New Zealand a little helping hand by making three unforced changes. Denis Caniza and Julio Cesar Caceres are new faces in defence while Oscar Cardozo starts in attack

Awaiting Kickoff

Even more interestingly, a draw in this match and an identical draw in Johannesburg where Italy play Slovakia would leave the All Whites to draw lots with Italy to decide who finishes second in the group!

Awaiting Kickoff

Few would have predicted that New Zealand would have been on the brink of a place in the Round of 16 but that is exactly where they find themselves this afternoon, needing a win over Paraguay to go through