Friday, 25 June 2010

Brazil, Paraguay Group Winners. Chile Also Through

Paraguay 0-0 New Zealand

Paraguay finished top of Group F after a scoreless draw against New Zealand in Polokwane. Despite being in the box seat in the group going into the game Paraguay still really needed a victory to ensure top spot in the Group whilst the New Zealanders had to win to have any chance of progressing.

In all honesty, it wasn't the best game of the competition. Shots were few and far between, Paraguay had only six shots on target all game compared to a single All Whites effort but on the whole Justo Villar was a mere spectator to proceedings. Paraguay's best opportunities fell to Roque Santa Cruz and and substitue Edgar Benitez but New Zealand goalkeeper Mark Patson was up to the task on each occasion. It was a performance that has Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino seething but his side progress to the Round of 16 where they take on Japan. Slovakia progressed alongside Paraguay after their shock 3-2 victory over Champions Italy, who now head back to Rome with their tails stuck well and truly between their legs.

Portugal 0-0 Brazil

Shocking game in Durban as Brazil progressed as Group Winners from Group G after a goalless draw against Portugal. The first half was dominated by the Mexican referee who dished out 7 yellow cards. Felipe Melo was hauled off by Dunga after his card as he was slowly losing the plot and some pundits reckoned Juan was lucky not to see red after a deliberate handball could have denied Cristiano Ronaldo an opportunity on goal.

Brazil rested Robinho and gave a chance to Nilmar and he looked very dangerous for Seleção at times and he had the best Brazil chance of the match when he ghosted in at the back post and Eduardo somehow managed to push the ball onto the crossbar. Portugal had made four changes from their victory on Monday and their best chance when Lucio deflected the ball across the box and Raul Meireles shot wide. Ramires went close for the Seleção in the closing moments but Eduardo kept his clean sheet record and Portugal will now face Spain in the Round of 16 next Tuesday.

Chile 1-2 Spain

After their opening defeat to Switzerland it looked like the Champions of Europe would be following France and Italy on the long haul flight back to Europe but they steadied the ship against Honduras and ended up winning the Group after victory over 10 man Chile in Pretoria. It took two flashes of brilliance from the Spanish to establish their lead. Chile only needing a point controlled the first twenty minutes of the game, but when Chile keeper Claudio Bravo made a hash of his clearance David Villa put the ball in from fully 35 metres. Beausejour should have equalised when one on one with Iker Casillas but Gerard Pique saved the day.

The second goal had class writted all over it. Andres Iniesta exchange passes with Torres and Villa before slotting home from the edge of the area. In the build up, Torres went down in a challenge from Marco Estrada. It was a nothing challenge, the no malice or intent in it and Torres made a five course meal out of it and the referee deemed fit to issue a second caution to Estrada and dismiss him. Marco Bielsa made two changes at the break and his team havled the defecit two minutes after the break when Rodrigo Millar's shot deflected off Pique to leave Casillas stranded. Spain though, saw the game out to finish top of the group but that means that Chile will now face Brazil in the Round of 16.

So all five of the CONMEBOL teams make into the Round of 16 and we'll bring you the round up as and when the games happen.

Apologies again, highlights are courtesy of the official FIFA Site. Highlights are subject to local restrictions and we recommend our UK readers use the BBC website.

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