World Cup: Spain vs. Paraguay (Match-Day Commentary)

Paraguay Crest   Spain Crest

The last quarterfinal match of the World Cup pits Paraguay and Spain (2:30pm, ABC) against one another in a bout that will determine which team meets Germany in the semifinals.

Entering the match as the heavy favorite, Spain will be hoping to knockoff a Paraguay team that has failed to score in its last 214 minutes. The South Americans head into the game aiming to become the third team in four years to defeat Spain in order to advance to the semis for the first time in its history.

This is Franco Panizo and I will be providing commentary throughout the match. As always, please feel free to follow along as well as leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below. Enjoy the match.

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FINAL- That's all for me for now. As always, please feel free to leave your post-game thoughts, analysis and opinions on today's match in the comments section.

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FINAL- Paraguay may have lost, but the recipe to defeat Spain is out. Clog the middle and force them down the flanks. Let's see how Germany does when it faces the Spanish in the semifinals.

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FINAL- It was a tight match, but finishing was the difference. Paraguay goes scoreless for a third consecutive match while David Villa nets in his fourth straight match.

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FINAL- Cardozo is in tears. He had a golden opportunity to give Paraguay the lead, but his missed penalty kick will surely haunt him and Paraguay for quite some time.

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FINAL- Spain reaches the semifinals with a 1-0 win over Paraguay. David Villa the hero again.

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 90th minute- Ramos being treated after getting kicked in the face when Santana attempted a volley.

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88th minute- SAVE CASILLAS! The Spanish goalkeeper denies Santa Cruz from point blank range off a rebound. Incredible save.

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83rd minute- The buildup to that play was quality. Iniesta fed Pedro, whose shot hit the post. Villa followed up on the rebound with a shot that hit the right post then rolled across the goal line before hitting the left post and going in. 

WOW.

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82nd minute- GOAL SPAIN! Villa scores off a rebound and the favorites finally break through. Wow.

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79th minute- I have to wonder why Del Bosque continues to start Torres up top after he continues to prove ineffective. It is a wasted substitute in a game that might go into extra time.

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75th minute- Spain make a change. Pedro is replacing Xabi Alonso.

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75th minute- Xavi one-times a shot and it goes just wide left. Close there.

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71st minute- Paraguay substitution: Valdez off, Roque Santa Cruz in.

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66th minute- Okay admit it. How many of you needed to catch your breath after those wild three minutes of play?

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63rd minute- Paraguay sub: Enrique Vera in for Barreto.

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62nd minute- SAVE VILLAR! Xabi Alonso goes down low to the right but Villar parries it away. The rebound is shot by Ramos and it is cleared off the line by Da Silva. This is incredible stuff.

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61st minute- Xabi Alonso steps up and scores the spot kick, but the ref is whistling it back for encroachment. He'll have to do it again.

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60th minute- PENALTY SPAIN! Alcaraz given a yellow card as he drags down David Villa. WOW.

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59th minute- SAVE CASILLAS! Cardozo shoots the ball to the right and Casilla guesses correctly and gobbles it up.

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57th minute- PENALTY! Pique is given a yellow card for pulling and holding onto Cardozo's arm on a corner.

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56th minute- Fabregas in for Torres. At least Del Bosque made the move fairly quicker.

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54th minute- Fabregas warming up.

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49th minute- Spain continuing to dominate possession but not much coming in the way of chances so far in this half.

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46th minute- Second half is underway.

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HALFTIME- As for Paraguay, the South Americans shouldn't change a thing. They just need to keep doing what they're doing and hope to put one in as Spain leaves itself exposed in search of a goal.

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HALFTIME- Inserting Cesc Fabregas for Busquets would be a move I'd make. He can help unlock Paraguay's currently stingy defense.

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HALFTIME- Spain 0, Paraguay 0. Spain can't breakdown Paraguay's disciplined defending. What adjustments will Vincente Del Bosque make at halftime?

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45th minute- Valdez, who is enjoying a good game, keeps Puyol on his toes with a strong run and dribble, but his shot is wide.

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45th minute- One minute of stoppage time added.

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41st minute- WOW! Cardozo scores but he is called offside. Replays show he wasn't the man that was off on the play. A legit goal for Paraguay is taken away.

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39th minute- Torres plays the ball around a defender but his cross soars out of bounds. Nothing doing for Spain.

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35th minute- Paraguay hits back on a counter and a cross just flies over Santana. That was a good opportunity for the South Americans there.

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32nd minute- Spain wins a free kick outside the penalty area. Big chance here.

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29th minute- Xavi has time and hits a volley from 30 yards out but it goes over the goal.

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27th minute- Seeing the same thing that USA and Switzerland did against Spain in their respective (shock) wins: Trying to push Spain wide by clogging the middle.

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22nd minute- Spain doing a little better with possession now. No clear looks on goal, though.

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18th minute- Paraguayan defenders and midfielders are swarming Xavi, Iniesta and co. Interesting to see how Spain adjusts.

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15th minute- Spain is struggling to impose its will so far. Paraguay is doing a good job defensively to pressure the Spanish players and not allow them with too much time on the ball. Think they took a page from Bob Bradley's playbook?

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12th minute- Very good slide tackle by Pique to breakup a dangerous run down the left side. Better than the challenge was Pique's awareness to keep the ball in bounds. He's definitely one of the better center backs in the world.

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9th minute- Riveros gets on the end of a cross with his head, but it goes wide right. Very wide right.

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5th minute- Spain wins a corner, but nothing comes of it.

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3rd minute- Paraguay enjoying more of the possession in the early moments of this match.

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1st minute- Santana gets a shot off from 20 yards out and Casillas makes a good save. Early chance there for Paraguay.

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1st minute- And we're underway. 

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PRE-GAME- Ramos has had lots of success getting down the right flank in Spain's last few games. I'd expect to see lots of that today.

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PRE-GAME- Can Paraguay bounce back strongly after playing 120 minutes against Japan in the round of 16? It is always tough, but playing Spain doesn't do the South Americans any favors.

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PRE-GAME- Here's Paraguay's starting XI:

——————–Valdez—————–

————Cardozo——Santana———

–Riveros——–Caceres———Barreto–

–Rodriguez—Alcaraz—-Da Silva—Veron–

———————–Villar——————

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PRE-GAME- Here's Spain's starting XI:

——————-Villa———————

————Torres——-Iniesta———-

—-Alonso——Busquests——Xavi—-

–Capdevila—–Puyol—Pique—Ramos–

——————Casillas——————-

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57 Responses to World Cup: Spain vs. Paraguay (Match-Day Commentary)

  1. Stevie says:

    Arggh why does del Bosque insist on using two holding midfielders against a very defensive Paraguay? Spain would be much better off with Silva or Fabregas in the lineup instead of Sergio Bisquets.

  2. Gus Keri says:

    FIFA awarded the first Dutch goal against Brazil to Sneijder. Rightly so, because was heading to the goal before it was headed by Melo. He joined 5 other players with 4 goals

  3. Gus Keri says:

    Probably, he should have put Fabregas in stead of Alonso. Alonso has a yellow card and will miss the next game if he gets one here.

  4. ShaggyReAL says:

    I’m pulling for paraguay today. I like having the favorites bow out. :)

    I loved how Messi didn’t score in the WC. :)

  5. Stevie says:

    Spain are playing way too casual. Might this lead to mistakes for Paraguay to take advantage of?

  6. Paul says:

    Neither did Kaka or Rooney. Ronaldo was pretty disappointing as well.

  7. Will Smith says:

    Why do I get this funny feeling that Paraguay can upset Spain

  8. Paul says:

    If they do, then all the pre-tournament favourites are out. All the so-called experts said it was between Brazil, Spain, Argentina and England. Try to find an analyst who predicted Germany and Holland in the semis (much less Uruguay and Paraguay).

  9. Stevie says:

    Lol does anyone see a problem with Spain having their best striker playing out wide left and their worst striker playing centrally?

  10. Turgid Jacobian says:

    Ronaldo’s goal was funny, but even funnier was the futile fusillade of far-off free kicks.

  11. Paul says:

    Torres just shouldn’t be in there. Clearly not fit. They seem to want him to play his way to fitness, but he looks sluggish. Llorente has looked a handful when he’s come in as sub.

  12. ShaggyReAL says:

    Ohhh…Paraguay with some nice chances, the ball just slightly going over the heads of the Paraguay players.

  13. Gus Keri says:

    When Sapin plays a defensive opponent, It might go any way. You have to worry about them. They might lose like against Switzerland or win like against Portugal.

  14. ShaggyReAL says:

    But Villa has been deadly on the left side. not that bad of a move. imo

  15. Turgid Jacobian says:

    He’s deadly wherever he is played, I think.

  16. Paul says:

    This could be a World Cup defined by the favorites flopping and a young, unheralded German side coming out of nowhere to win it.

  17. ShaggyReAL says:

    Has Spain received a yellow card at all this World Cup?

  18. ShaggyReAL says:

    He was ONSIDE!!!!!!

  19. Paul says:

    He’s at Barcelona next season. Soccer heaven :)

  20. ShaggyReAL says:

    Close call not the Refs fault.

  21. Stevie says:

    Maybe its a case of Cardoza being ruled active as he was in an offside position when the ball is played in. Anyway, it was a close call that couldve went either way

  22. Stevie says:

    Torres needs to come off for Llorente and someone like Navas or Silva needs to be brought in for some width. Paraguay are playing like the USA and the Swiss did when they beat Spain: narrow, compact, and allowing Spain the space on the flanks, knowing Spain are trying to go through the heart of their defense.

  23. dailyminefield says:

    Is anyone else tired of listening to John Harkes? He’s so negative and criticizes f’n everything. You’re not a coach, just call the game.

  24. Starla says:

    Exactly, correct call, he went for the ball.

  25. Jorge says:

    I love excitement Univision commentators bring with them.

  26. Scoobert says:

    “¡¡¡¡Seeeeee laaaaaaaa perdioooooooooooó!!!!”

    I agree!

  27. Tony in Quakeland says:

    He was – but his teammate five steps from him was not and the central defnder had to choose which guy to cover. The offside player CLEARLY was invovled in the play. I don’t think there is even a question

  28. Jorge says:

    By the way, this is daughter of Jose Bracamontes, one of the Univision commentators.

    link to bit.ly

  29. Jorge says:

    Or how about “talk to me Jesus!”?

  30. Gus Keri says:

    This is so sufficating defense. Each time a Spanish player has the ball, there are two or three Paraguayans around him.

  31. Scoobert says:

    Well this is an interesting turn of events!

    Ghanaians must be shuddering!

  32. Scoobert says:

    INSAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNEEEE!!!!

  33. ShaggyReAL says:

    WOW!! some exciting games this weekend!

  34. Jorge says:

    That referee has some guts…

  35. Starla says:

    The ref x-factor is saving this boring game.

  36. Will Smith says:

    Did that really just happen?! What Drama!!!

  37. Jorge says:

    Yep. Amazing drama and excitement.

  38. Scoobert says:

    I keep looking at the score on the top of the screen, expecting it to be something other than 0-0. Seems like it must be 1-0 or 1-1 or something, but it’s not.

    Crazy game!

  39. Scoobert says:

    wow goalllllllllll!!!!

  40. Stevie says:

    VILLLLAAAAA!!!!

  41. Paul says:

    Four great quarter-finals. Each one has been exciting in a different way. Brazil imploding against Holland, the masterclass by Germany, the Suarez/Gyan drama, and now this.

  42. Paul says:

    Villa leads WC scoring on 5. A goal per game (although two came against Honduras).

  43. ShaggyReAL says:

    Santa Claus >>>>>>>>>> Santa Cruz

  44. Scoobert says:

    Wow, Paraguay almost pulled that off…

  45. Gus Keri says:

    Will Del Bosque ever smile?

  46. Gus Keri says:

    What a tournament!

  47. Scoobert says:

    So, four South American teams in the quarterfinals, one in each match…and look what happened. Uruguay is only in through the “hand of Suarez”.

  48. Gus Keri says:

    Here are two facts:

    Brazil won the cup in every continent that hosted it except Africa.

    Europe has a great chance of finally winning a world cup being held outside Europe

  49. Will Smith says:

    Agreed he should have had that goal… I dont see too much pitch time for him at Man City

  50. Stephen says:

    Yeah…Champions League final?

  51. CB Jaimes says:

    JESUS Bracamontes! Thus “talk to me Jesus!” get it?

  52. Stevie says:

    Spain are gonna get destroyed by Germany if they play like they did today. No sense of urgency, no killer instinct, and no cohesion between midfield and attack. They are a long way away from their Euro ’08 form, and this German team is much better than the Euro ’08 squad Spain faced in that final.

  53. Jorge says:

    I know…

  54. Shark says:

    Poor officitating from the CONCACAF ref Mr. Batres from Guatamala and his two assitants. You have to wonder how a ref like this got such an important match…oh wait its FIFA and Blatter is in charge…

  55. Robb says:

    I watched the game and thought the ref did a hell of a job.

  56. Josh says:

    Ives, you’re absolutely right that Germany will try to clog the middle and force Spain down the flanks. Given that, del Bosque needs to start Lloriente instead of Torres next match. Torres is CLEARLY not fit, and Lloriente’s tall enough to get on the end of some crosses.

    Germany clogged the middle against Argentina, but Maradona’s freestyle tactics meant that Argentine players ran to the center of the pitch with little purpose other than to get the ball. That left no room for Messi (or anybody else, for that matter) and poor spacing. When Spain work it up the middle, their spacing is a lot more disciplined and their team communication is much better. I still think they’ll need to utilize the flanks more, but they can play as a unit, while Argentina never could.

  57. Aaron says:

    I also thought the officiating was fine. Spain encroached on Paraguay’s PK so if you’re going to call it, that also should have been a re-take. I have a feeling the ref was trying to “even” it up and let them win from open play.