Paraguay became the fourth South American nation to qualify for the quarter finals of the 2010 World Cup – the highest number of nations from that continent to get this far. Interestingly, they are all in different matches in the last 8, three of them favourites to progress to the semi final.
In a dull affair, Paraguay and Japan went to penalties after a goalless draw. Paraguay ended their group with the same scoreline against New Zealand as they attempt to defy people’s opinions of the South American attacking flair we have seen in this competition. Yuichi Komano was the unfortunate player to miss as his penalty thumped the top of the cross bar. Paraguay converted all 5 of their attempts, with Oscar Cardozo coolly slotting home the decider.
This game was the first opportunity I had to demonstrate the penalty shootout system, with betting slips displayed below:
With the first two spot kicks converted, I doubled my original stake on the next penalty. Once that was converted, double the stake went on Japan to miss theirs.
After both of those were converted, I trebled the previous stake on Paraguay missing their third kick. Once that was converted, I doubled for Japan’s next kick. Once that hit the bar, the money was in the bag. In the end a large stake for a small sum. The earlier the penalties are missed and the more often they are, the better! Maybe next time.
In the final second round match, the Iberian derby saw Portugal play a very defensive game against Spain, as they had done successfully in their final group game with Brazil, ending 0-0. Spain didn’t look like breaking down the defence in the first half, after David Villa and Fernando Torres both had decent attempts cutting in from the right hand side in the opening few minutes. Portugal wasted two good headed chances in the first half, but it was the substitution of Fernando Llorente for Fernando Torres that turned the game around. His strength and ability to hold the ball up caused the Portuguese defence problems, and five minutes after his appearance saw the only goal of the game when David Villa finished off a lovely move to score his 4th goal of the World Cup.
Portugal lacked ideas as they rarely threatened the Spanish goal. Although I backed a Spanish clean sheet pre-game, their defence doesn’t look assured. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas has looked nervous during this World Cup, despite not having much to do. Right back Sergio Ramos gets caught out of position as he is often in his oppositions penalty box. Left back Juan Capdevila looks vulnerable at left back and a powerful striker may cause the centre backs problems, particularly in the air. They were helped out today by Carlos Queiroz’s poor tactical decisions going forward as Portugal lacked ideas and simply formation. They came into the game looking for their third goalless draw and once they fell behind there seemed to be no plan B.
Netherlands face Brazil in their first quarter final on Friday afternoon, followed by Uruguay-Ghana in the evening. Argentina take on Germany on Saturday, followed by Spain-Paraguay concluding the final eight.