POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 24: Victor Caceres of Paraguay and Leo Bertos of New Zealand battle for the ball during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group F match between Paraguay and New Zealand at Peter Mokaba Stadium on June 24, 2010 in Polokwane, South Africa. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Paraguay Clinches Group F, Sends New Zealand Home Undefeated, With Scoreless Draw

New Zealand has a chance to write one of the best stories in World Cup history if they can get a result against Paraguay and, possibly with some help, earn a place in the knockout stage. However, don't expect Paraguay's Gerardo Martino to overlook the lessons Italy and Slovakia learned the hard way.

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World Cup 2010, Paraguay Vs. New Zealand: Draw Wins Group F For Paraguay, Sends Kiwi Home Undefeated

New Zealand was picked by many to lose their matches in South Africa. Instead, the All Whites leave South Africa without losing, their 0-0 draw with Paraguay leaving them on three points and in Group F’s third place.

Paraguay’s point means they win Group F and await the second place finisher from Group E Monday in the Round of 16.

The match was one controlled by an unambitious Paraguay team, who limited the All Whites to no shots but recorded only four of their own. The group winners held 66 percent of possession and showed some desire at match’s end, when shots from Lucas Barrios and Roque Santa Cruz attempted to give the Paraguayans a late goal.

However, with Slovakia ahead for most of their match against Italy, Paraguay knew one point would win them Group F. At times, Paraguay seemed content to play other the match, showing patience with the ball deep in the New Zealand third.

The result means Paraguay moves into the knockout stage for the fourth consecutive finals, where they will likely face either Japan or Denmark.


World Cup 2010, Paraguay Vs. New Zealand: Paraguay 45 Minutes Closer To Winning Group F

Paraguay continues to lead Group F, having gone into halftime drawn 0-0 with New Zealand, who would be out of the tournament if results hold despite going undefeated.

New Zealand is giving the Paraguayan the same troubles they posed Slovakia and Italy, playing the group leaders even through the first 45. The All Whites have only have 31 percent of the possession but have limited their opponents to one shot on goal.

That shot came from Nelson Valdez in the 35th minute from around the arc, saved by Mark Paston.

Gerardo Martino has again gone with his 4-3-3 personnel, though Nelson Valdez is playing wide left, with the set-up masking as a 4-4-2 for much of the half.

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