Who will win the clash of Iberia? And can Japan or Paraguay continue their great run? Questions which will be answered tonight.
(to be updated after the second game)
Paraguay 5-3 [0-0] Japan (penalties)
Paraguay needed penalties to get past Japan in a rather tame pre-quarterfinal match at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria. Paraguay scored of all their five penalties, while Yuichi Komano was the devil for Japan as the defender's penalty hit the crossbar and went over.
Surprisingly Japan had the better start into the game with some chances coming their way before the match cooled down and both sides were more inclined to defend rather then try to score a goal. Paraguay had more of the ball, but Japan were cleverly denying the South Americans space to operate and their counters were finished off either.
After the break both sides looked even more nervous with loads of miss-passes and interceptions. Paraguay were the first to come out of their slumber, but a Cristian Riveros header was the only treath to the Japanese goal. Thereafter Japan did try to attack too, but both defences held sway with no major treath until the end of the 90 minutes.
In extra time Paraguay initially looked the better side with Lukas Barrios and Nelson Valdez having chances for their side both denied by Kawashima before Japan had a good chance through Keisuke Honda and Paraguay keeper Villar stretched to save the chance.
The match had to go into extra time and there Paraguay would score all their penalties with Oscar Cardozo the hero to score the fifth and last penalty, while Yuichi Komano would miss for Japan to end their campaign in the tournament.
Spain 1-0 (0-0) Portugal
Goals: 1-0 David Villa (63').
European champions Spain beat their neighbours Portugal 1-0 at the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. But once more a refereeing blunder decided the game with the goal by Villa scored from an offside position.
Spain made swift start into the match with Fernando Torres having his first shot on goal cleared by Portuguese keeper Eduardo only after 58 seconds. David Villa would have two more chances before the match would be 10 minutes old, but once more Eduardo would be up to the task. Thereafter Portugal would better adjust to the Spanish game with their defensive play waiting for chances through counter attacks. One such attack would be see Tiago make a long range effort which just about is blocked by Iker Casillas. Spain had most of the ball, but Portugal didn't allow them to get near their goal while their rare attacks remained dangerous. Their fellow countryman Jose Mourinho would have been proud of the Portuguese defensive play.
Things didn't change initially after the break with Spain still looking for the opening, while Portugal waited for counter attacks. And one such attack nearly gave the Portuguese the lead when Hugo Almeida's shot from the left hit Carlos Puyol's thigh and just about missed the goal. Spain had to change something and coach Vicente del Bosque brought on Fernando Llorente for Fernando Torres. And the move could have paid off immediately as a Sergio Ramos' cross from the right was headed goalwards by Llorente on the hour mark. But suddenly Spain had the momentum as thereafter a David Villa shot just about missed the target. But Spain's target man would get on the score sheet in the 63rd minute as an Andres Iniesta pass is played on by Xavi to Villa, whose first shot is blocked by Eduardo, but he can't do anything against Villa's chip. Still the goal shouldn't have been given as Villa was just about offside. If one thought that Portugal would finally end their destructive game and play for the equaliser one would be shocked as they continued their play with Spain now more confident in their short passing game, which was far from perfection. Spain could have doubled the lead through Sergio Ramos and David Villa, but again Eduardo was there to deny Spain. Surprisingly there was also no Cristiano Ronaldo to be seen as he was not to be seen as the whole Portugal offence. The fair match ended on a soar note as Ricardo Costa received a straight red card in the 89th minute as he elbowed Juan Capdevila. Spain went on to win the battle of Iberia in a match which never rose to the heights expected from it.