JOHANNESBURG SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 03: Francesc Fabregas Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos of Spain celebrate with David Villa after he scores his side's first goal during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Quarter Final match between Paraguay and Spain at Ellis Park Stadium on July 3 2010 in Johannesburg South Africa. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Late David Villa Goal Puts Spain Into World Cup Semifinals

A Spain goal in the final minutes finally broke a scoreless tie and sent Paraguay home. The Spanish will now move on to face the Germans in Wednesday's semifinal.

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World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Paraguay: David Villa Goal Allows Spain To Avoid Upset

Three fruitless close calls for Paraguay allowed David Villa's 83rd minute goal to stand-up, giving Spain a 1-0 win over the Paraguayans and a spot in Wednesday's semifinal against Germany.

Villa's tournament-leading fifth goal was put in from seven yards out, hitting both posts before crossing the line, giving the tournament favorites a pass over a Paraguay team who finished the tournament having gone its last 304 minutes without scoring a goal.

Three times within the match, that looked to change, as Paraguay threatened to break their streak and knock-out the Spaniards.

The first threat came toward the end of the first half when Nelson Valdez looked to have scored only for Paraguay to be whistled offside.  Replays showed Óscar Cardozo was beyond the line at the time the ball was played.

The second threat came at the beginning of a chaotic sequence that started in the 59th minute when Gerard Piqué grabbed the arm of Cardozo as the Paraguayan striker tried to move in anticipation of a set piece.  A yellow card was shown the Spanish defender and Paraguay was given a penalty kick.

Cardozo, who converted the final kick in the Round of 16 shootout against Japan, went right, where Iker Casillas had drove.  The Spain goalkeeper caught the shot against his chest, keeping the match scoreless.

One minute later, Spain was awarded a penalty kick, with Paraguayan defender Antolín Alcaraz fouling David Villa after the Spanish attacker was put behind the defense.  Alcaraz avoided a red card, but Paraguay did not avoid giving Spain a penalty kick.

Xabi Alonso converted the first attempt, but the kick was ordered retaken when multiple Spanish players encroached across the arc at the top of the penalty area.  Alonso's second kick was saved by Justo Villar, and the match moved on from the 61st minute scoreless.

The final Paraguay chance came in the 89th minute when Lucas Barrios's shot form the right of goal was parried by Iker Casillas, but the rebound left Roque Santa  Cruz with a shot from eight yards out.  Casillas closed-down the space in time to prevent the equalizer and preserve Spain's 1-0 win.

Spain moves on to a semifinal match-up with Germany, who defeated Argentina earlier today.  That match will take place on Wednesday, with the winner moving on to July 11th's final, to face either the Netherlands or Uruguay.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Paraguay: Not Even Goal Posts Can Stop David Villa From Giving Spain The Lead

Spain has finally broken through Paraguay, with David Villa becoming the tournament's leading scorer, banging in a shot of both goal posts in the 83rd minute to give the tournament favorites a 1-0 lead.

From nine yards out, Villa gathered a Pedro shot that had come off the left post, putting a shot to the other side of  goal.  The striker's shot hit the inside of the right post, went along the goal line and hit the left post, and went in for the match's first goal.

It was Villa's fifth goal of the tournament, putting Spain within minutes of a meeting with Germany in Wednesday's semifinal.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Paraguay: Xabi Alonso Penalty Kick Converted, Then Saved, Keeping Match Scoreless

One minute after Óscar Cardozo missed a penalty kick that would have given Paraguay the lead, Xabi Alonso beat Justo Villar to apparently put Spain in the lead.

Then, the kick was disallowed.

David Villa won a penalty kick when he was fouled from behind by Antolín Alcarez, the Paraguayan defender fortunate to avoid a last-man red card, only earning a yellow.

Alonso stepped-up and converted the penalty kick only to have it disallowed as three Spain players crossed into the arc before Alonso struck the kick.

The second kick was saved by Villar, who guessed correctly in diving to his left, keeping the match scoreless in the 61st minute.

The match is now in the 66th minute, still scoreless.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Paraguay: Oscar Cardozo Penalty Kick Saved By Iker Casillas

It was the perfect save by Iker Casillas, who guessed correctly on Oscar Cardozo's penalty kick, keeping Spain's match with Paraguay scoreless.

Cardozo had drawn the penalty (and a yellow card) on Gerard Piqué, the Spain defender pulled Cardozo's arm as the kick was taken.

Cardozo, who converted the final kick in Paraguay's penalty shootout against Japan, went right.  Casillas guess correctly and caught the ball in his chest, saving the shot in the 59th minute.

Spain and Paraguay remain scoreless.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Paraguay: Cesc Fabregas Subbed On For Fernando Torres

Vincente del Bosque has made his first change, against bringing Fernando Torres off early in the second half, bringing on midfielder Cesc Fabregas in the match's 57th minute.

Torres gave another sub-standard performance in his return from knee surgery.  Fabregas's insertion will put David Villa bad in a striker's role, moving in from the left wing.


World Cup 2010, Spain Vs. Paraguay: Spain Held Without A Shot In First Half

Paraguay has used pressure high in midfield to disrupt Spain's ability to get into attack, forcing Spain into a number of first half turnovers, keeping La Furia Roja from putting a shot on goal during a scoreless first half in Johannesburg.

Paraguay has the half's only shot, a Jonathan Santana roller from 20 yards out that was easily saved by Iker Casillas.  The Parguayans also have the half's  only goal, a Nelson Valdez tally that never was, the play having been whistled offside before the crowd's gasps.

Spain's closest chance came in the 29th minute, a volley from Xavi Hernández that nearly dipped into the upper left hand corner from 22 yards out.  Spain, however, has been stifled by a Gerardo Martino set-up that's daring Spain to play wide (specifically, wide right), an approach the Spaniards have been reluctant to embrace.

The result has left Spain susceptible to the Paraguayan pressure through midfield, with Hernández often being forced to give-up the ball to Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets, who have been unable to get the favorites into attack.

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