Tag: Spain defeats Paraguay
Spain is still far from demonstrating they are the best team on the tournament. Perhaps the underachieving Spaniards are waiting for the semifinals to finally show that they deserve to be among the four top teams in the World. Let´s get real with this folks: they were the favorite team before the World Cup started. Once the team plays its first games, there were serious doubts it would make it far. They were missing something in their group tactics, and had it not been by the magnificent striker David Villa, they might not have made it pass the group stages.
Sure, Spain is miles away from being the really dominant team it is expected to be. But with this nerve wrecking 1-0 defeat over Paraguay, the Spaniards have made it were Brazil, Argentina, England and many other top-notch teams have not. And that still says much. Sure, they have had an easier way up to the semifinals. But soon they are going to have to bring on their A-game in order to defeat the Germans, who made absolutely everything right in their last 4-0 smack down of Diego Maradona´s squad.
Paraguay got Spain into real trouble. The Spaniard did not seem to have anything to break pass the South American defenders. Sure, they kept control of the ball 60% of the time. Paraguay’s head coach, Gerardo Martino, made 6 changes to the starting 11 in an attempt to keep both David Villa and Fernando Torres from roaming into their offensive area.
Paraguay could have opened the game with only two minutes of play. That would have changed the game for sure. Oscar Cordazo opened up the Spanish defense wide open after a good run. He found Jonathan Santana wide far in the penalty area. It was a great chance but Santana could not do more then an easy shot that Iker Casillas, the Spanish keeper, kept under control without much effort.
In the second half, Vicente del Bosque decided to make a change. He knew that if things stayed as they were, he was seriously risking his chances of taking Spain into the semis. Fernado Torres, once again, was seriously playing beneath what is expected of the talented striker. As such, after 10 minutes of play in the second half, Cesc Fabregas came in for Torres. The change certainly changed the rhythm of the game.
Gerard Pique, the Spanish defender, pulled down Oscar Cardozo inside the penalty area. The referee granted Paraguay a penalty kick. Cardozo himself took the shot, but Iker Casillas managed to stay low and move to his right to save the shot. Not two minutes later, Antolin Alcaraz made a foul over David Villa inside the Paraguayan penalty box. Xabi Alonso took the penalty shot and scored. Carles Puyol, the Spanish captain, ran inside the box before the shot was kicked, and Xabi Alonso had to take the shot again. Justo Villar, the Paraguayan keeper managed to save Alonso’s second shot and the game remained scoreless.
Spain had managed to complete 14 of 14 penalty shots in the qualifying stages and the friendly games before this tournament. So far in South Africa World Cup 2010, the team has missed two.
With only 10 minutes to go Iniesta made a great run in the flank and gave a great pass to Pedro, who shot but the ball hit the post. David Villa didn’t miss the chance and fired on target. The ball hit the two side posts before wondering inside the goal. But it was enough to bring on the Spanish victory and their qualification into the next round.