2010 World Cup: Paraguay v New Zealand full time report

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2010 World Cup: Paraguay v New Zealand full time report

Paraguay 0 New Zealand 0

Paraguay sealed their place in the last 16 of the World Cup thanks to getting a point in the goalless draw with New Zealand at the Peter Mokoba Stadium in Polokwane.
Paraguay will either play Japan or Denmark in the next round. They played the better football in the match and were the team likely to score a goal.
The South Americans were unable to break down a stubborn New Zealand defence, with keeper Mark Paston in fine form denying them. He continued his form from the last game in the 1-1 draw with Italy last Sunday. His performance today was worthy of a clean sheet.
Early on in the match, New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz bustled his way through the Paraguayan defence early on, but fired his shot over the bar for the first real chance of the game.
Chris Killen almost grabbed a goal for the Kiwis, but didn’t do anything as he nearly got onto the end of a deep free kick.
On 16 minutes, Paraguay sprang to life. Nelson Valdez picked the ball up on the halfway line and quickly ran with the ball down the left, but his cross couldn’t pick out Óscar Cardozo in the box.
The table toppers were slowly beginning to come into the game. Neat play by Manchester City’s Roque Santa Cruz resulted in a left-footed volley by the captain Claudio Morel Rodríguez.
The Paraguayan skipper was showing solidarity, as again on 19 minutes his best effort sailed just over the bar from long range.
Once again Rodríguez had another shot from an even longer range, with the ball dipping in the last second but not enough to trouble Paston.
Shots kept on coming, mainly off target, with Valdez testing Paston from long range.
Simon Elliott three minutes into the second half picked up the rebound on the edge of the box and shot just wide of the post.
It was all Paraguay in the second half after that, mounting the pressure on the New Zealand defence.
Cristian Riveros almost broke the deadlock past the hour mark, forcing a fine save from Paston.
Paulo Da Silva’s deflected shot nearly found its way into the net from the resulting save.
15 minutes from time, Paraguay’s Édgar Benitez forced another fine save from Paston, who got a strong left hand to deny the Toluca man.
Santa Cruz drilled a free kick nine minutes from time, with Paston making the save.
New Zealand didn’t lose a match, but still were unable to get a goal themselves, which would have been enough for them to go through.
With Italy losing 3-2 to Slovakia at Johannesburg, Paraguay topped Group F, with Slovakia going through with them in second place.
Some consolation for New Zealand was the fact they finished above the world champions Italy in the group in third place, with the Italians finishing an embarrassing last, and surprisingly relinquishing their crown in terrible fashion.



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