Paraguay 0-0 Japan - Match Report
Paraguay progressed through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time in their history after beating Japan 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out after a goalless draw in Pretoria.
With neither side able to make the breakthrough during 120 minutes of precious few goalscoring chances or notable incidents, it needed the first shoot-out of the 2010 World Cup to separate the two nations.
And it was Paraguay who emerged victorious after Japan defender Yuichi Komano, looking to make it 3-3, slammed his effort against the crossbar.
That proved to be the crucial miss as Paraguay scored all five of their efforts, with Oscar Cardozo casually slotting home the winning spot-kick to send his team wild.
After a low-key opening 20 minutes, Paraguay forward Lucas Barrios produced a great turn to break free in the area, and his low shot was blocked by Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.
Then, 60 seconds later, Daisuke Matsui rattled the Paraguay crossbar with a brilliant curling drive from outside the area that had the leaping Justo Villar beaten.
Paraguay ace Roque Santa Cruz and Japan star Keisuke Honda also had half-chances as the period drew to a close, but both players fired their left-footed efforts just wide.
At the start of the second period, Paraguay looked dangerous down the left, and from one of their attacks Cristian Riveros powered a glancing header goalward, but Kawashima plucked the ball from underneath his crossbar.
Paraguay enjoyed the better of the first half of extra time, with Barrios heading straight at Kawashima, who then came out quickly to block after Nelson Valdez had spun well on the edge of the area and poked a shot goalward.
Neither side came particularly close to snatching a late winner, meaning this year's World Cup would have its first penalty shoot-out - with Paraguay taking the honours.
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