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Sports

Spain knock out Portugal to meet Paraguay in quarterfinals

Spain beat Portugal 1-0 in a close-fought game in Cape Town on Tuesday. Vincente del Bosque's side goes on to a quarterfinal date with Paraguay, who beat Japan in a penalty shootout earlier in the day.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, and Spain's David Villa fight for the ball

Both Spain and Portugal played attacking football

In the last day of the World Cup's round of 16, Spain beat Portugal 1-0 in a sudden death knockout clash at Green Point Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. David Villa bagged the goal for the Spaniards midway through the second half.

Vincente del Bosque's men now face Paraguay in the quarterfinals, after the South Americans defeated Japan in a penalty shootout earlier on Tuesday.

Spain came out of the blocks in fine attacking form, with Portuguese keeper Eduardo forced to make three saves in the first seven minutes.

The first real chance for the Portuguese came in the 21st minute when combination play between Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao led to Tiago receiving the ball and having a crack at goal from outside the box.

Spanish keeper Iker Casillas palmed the shot up in the air back towards his own goal, but managed to get a fist to the ball to push it to safety under pressure from Portuguese striker Hugo Almeida.

Despite several more attacking opportunities neither team were able to take the lead ahead of the break.

Both teams started the second half at high tempo, exhibiting attacking football. Spain finally cracked the Portuguese defense in the 62nd minute to take the lead after some nifty short passing by Andres Iniesta in the congested Portuguese goal box.

Iniesta fed the ball to Xavi, who deftly flicked a pass on to Villa on the left side of the penalty area. Eduardo managed to block Villa's first effort, but the ball came back to the Spanish striker to put the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.

The Spanish received their first yellow card of the tournament in the 74th minute, after Xabi Alonso brought down Pedro Mendes.

As the final whistle drew ever closer, Portugal were frustrated as the Spanish kept hold of the ball. Tiago was booked for a foul on David Villa.

At 89 minutes came the only red card of the game, for Portugal's Ricardo Costa after an off-the-ball challenge on Joan Capdevilla.

Portugal pushed forward but were unable to find the equalizer and the score remained 1-0 with Spain going on to the quarterfinals where they will meet Paraguay on Saturday.


The Paraguay team celebrate after winning the penalty shoot-out

Paraguay kept their cool in the shootout


Maiden shoot-out

Paraguay clinched their place in the quarterfinals after beating Japan 5-3 in a penalty shootout. The match went into penalties after neither team managed to score after 90 minutes of regulation time, and 30 minutes of extra time.

Japan's fate was sealed after Yuichi Komano hit the crossbar as the penalty count was poised at 3-2 to Paraguay.

The game got off to a somewhat measured start, with neither team really threatening the opposition goal until around the 20th minute, when Paraguay's Borussia Dortmund forward Lucas Barrios swiveled in the box and toe-poked a shot into the knees of Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima.

Two minutes later, Daisuke Matsui rattled the crossbar with a long-range, curling shot from around 20 meters out.

Neither team managed a serious attempt on goal throughout the rest of the half. As the second 45 minutes unfolded, Paraguay managed to seize the lion's share of possession - 62 percent - but were unable to convert the extra time on the ball into goals.

With the score locked at 0-0, extra time was played at much the same pace as regulation time, with neither team managing to control play effectively, forcing the penalty shootout.

Author: Darren Mara
Editor: Rob Turner

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