Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Quarter-final 4: Spain 1-0 Paraguay
The match had a bizarre turn of events during the second half. Pique wrestled Cardozo to the ground in the box, conceding a penalty. Cardozo's penalty was a reasonable effort but Casillas pulled off an excellent save, and he did very well to hold onto the ball in the process. Second's later it was Spain's turn to be awarded a penalty, Alcarez adjudged to have bundled Villa over in the box in what was an incredibly harsh decision. Alonso duly converted only for Batres to order a retake for encroachment. It was technically correct with one or two players feet a couple of inches into the box. It was almost as if Batres realised he had made the wrong call initially to award the penalty and was trying to prevent them from scoring it. Villar saved the penalty and scrambled the ball away to safety. In the process he made a clear trip on a Spaniard with his arms but no penalty was given.
The game was finally decided with around 7 minutes to go. It was a lovely move by Spain. Iniesta skilfully set up Pedro after a classic delightful Xavi flick. Pedro's excellent shot was thwarted by the post but Villa scored the rebound, albeit this also coming off the post. They deserved a goal for the move but they barely deserved the win. Paraguay had done a great job of preventing Spain from playing in the manner they are accustomed and for that deserve a lot of credit. It really could have gone either way. The Guatemalan ref left a fair bit to be desired also, it has to be said.