Sunday, May 15, 2011

Germany punch Argentina 4-0, Spain edge Paraguay 1-0

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Players of Germany celebrate the victory after the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match against Argentina at Green Point stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, on July 3, 2010. Germany won 4-0 and is qualified for the semi-finals.

JOHANNESBURG, July 3 -- The 2008 European champions Spain edged Paraguay 1-0 here on Saturday night to set up a World Cup semifinal clash with European runners-up Germany, who whitewashed hot favorites Argentina 4-0 this afternoon.

After a penalty drama, David Villa's winner gave Spain the crucial victory.

In the 83rd minute, Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta slalomed through two defenders and laid the ball off to forward Pedro whose shot rebounded off the post to Valencia striker David Villa. Villa, who had already scored four goals in the World Cup, scrambled the ball home to top the scorers' list. Interestingly, his effort hit both posts before rolling over the line.

The peanlty drama, however, was the most eyecatching scene tonight.

In the 56th minute, Paraguay were awarded a penalty for Pique tugging down Cardozo in the box. But Casillas dived low to his left and held onto the ball.

Then the ball pumped straight down the other end. Paraguay defender Antolin Alcaraz hacked down Villa to award Spain a penalty. Alonso converted the penalty, but was forced to retake it.

Paraguay keeper Justo Villar, the skipper, dived to his left and saved it.

Besides the two keepers, referee Carlos Batres also became a hero in the drama.

The last time two penalties were saved in the same World Cup match was in 1930 in a match between Argentina and Mexico.

Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino said,"We had chances but didn't take them."

Spain did not show their best form in the first half, failing to collect a single shot on target.

After the penalty drama, both teams seemed to be settling into the pattern of play from the first half. But Villa's dramatic goal saved Spain.

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David Villa of Spain celebrates his scoring during the 2010 World Cup quarter-final soccer match against Paraguay at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, on July 3, 2010.Spain won 1-0 and is qualified for the semi-finals.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said after the game,"We didn't play well mainly because we didn't get enough of the ball."

In Cape Town, Germany, who lost to Spain 1-0 in the Euro 2008 final, thumped Argentina 4-0.

Thomas Mueller's third minute goal eased the Germans' nerves and Miroslav Klose scored twice and Arne Friedrich added one in the second half.

Three minutes into play, Bastian Schweinsteiger delivered an inswinging free kick from the left and Mueller got in front of Nicolas Otamendi to glance the ball goalwards, which hit keeper Sergio Romero's right leg before flying into the net.

That was the quickest goal and Mueller's fourth at this World Cup, beating English Steven Gerrard's effort against the United States.

Germany were menacing on every attack, coming at the Argentina backline with fleuncy and precise passing and reminding people of Germany's mercilessness in their 4-1 trouncing of England in the second round.

Argentines kept Neuer busy after the hour mark, who saved three strikes from Tevez, Messi and Angel di Maria. But Germany turned out a more efficient team.

In the 68th minute, Mueller, while scrambling on the ground, passed to Podolski, who broke into the Argentina area and cut the ball across goal, narrowly past the Argentine keeper, and to Klose, who tapped home easily.

Six minutes later, German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger shook off three opponents and cut the ball back to Arne Friedrich, who tapped in while falling down.

Klose, playing his 100th international game, scored his second goal - his fourth in South Africa and 14th in his three World Cups - as he volleyed Mesut Ozil's cross into the net in the 89th minute.

Germany coach Joachim Loew said the youth and speed was the key to their lopsided victory.

"Argentina are an experienced and aggressive side but they are inconsistent in defence," said Loew. "The German team are young and speedy enough to take advantage of their defensive loopholes."

Loew's more famed counterpart lamented the dashed dream but said he was proud of leading the Argentine team.

"We gave the Germans too many ideas," said Maradona, who also praised Messi as "a great player", disclosing that his heir apparent cried at the locker room.

Messi, the most shinning star in world arena, had to go home empty-handedly. He did not score a single goal in the World Cup.

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