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Villa factor takes Spain to semi-finals

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03.07.2010 22:28

Villa factor takes Spain to semi-finals

A superb piece of finishing from Barça’s David Villa, his fifth of the tournament, has sent Spain through to a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Germany.

Villa struck just seven minutes from time after both sides had incredibly missed a penalty in the space of two minutes. The 1-0 victory means that Spain will now face a rampant German team in a repeat of the EURO 2008 final.

Seven plus Cesc

Espanya-Paraguai_3.JPGIt wasn’t a particular inspiring performance from Vicente Del Bosque’s team, especially in the first half, but as the Paraguayans tired Spain gradually began to look more dangerous. Once again, Del Bosque’s line-up featured six Barça players (Piqué, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Villa) – the same staring eleven for the third game in a row - and when first Cesc (min.56) and then Pedro (min.75) replaced Torres and Xabi Alonso, the fans could be forgiven for thinking they were in the Camp Nou rather than the Ellis Park stadium!

A game of two penalties

Espanya-Paraguai_2.JPGThe appearance of Cesc brought some life back into Spain but it seemed that that the semi-final jinx was going to strike again when Piqué brought Cardoza down in the box and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. However, the Benfica forward produced a tame shot and Casillas saved easily to his left. Just a minute or two later, Villa was fouled in the Paraguay penalty area and this time it was Alonso who fluffed his opportunity.


But then Pedro came on to add width and pace to the Spain attack and it was his shot that cannoned off the goalkeeper’s left-hand post straight to Villa in the 83rd minute. The striker somehow dug the ball out from under his feet and fired into the net, the ball hitting both posts on the way in.

Paraguay had a couple of chances in the closing minutes to equalize but Casillas was up to the challenge and saved from Barrios and Roque Santa Cruz.
Match stats



Paraguay: Justo Villar, Verón, Da Silva, Alcaraz, Morel, Riveros, Cáceres, Barreto, Santana, Cardozo and Valdez (Santacruz, 72').

Spain: Casillas, Ramos, Piqué, Puyol (Marchena, 84'), Capdevila, Busquets, Iniesta, Xabi Alonso (Pedro, 75'), Xavi, Villa and Torres (Cesc, 56').

Referee: Carlos Batres (Guatemala)

Goals: Villa (83')

Yellow cards: Piqué (57'), Cáceres (58'), Alcaraz (58'), Busquets (63'), Morel (71'), Santana (87')

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