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.

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