All teams in Group have 1 point, so it’s exactly “loser go home” today, but it’s pretty close. Italy and Paraguay were expected to go through, but after the opening ties, it’s anybody’s group. Slovakia, hugely unlucky not to take three points from New Zealand, realistically need a win today, because beating Italy is unlikely; Paraguay could better sustain a loss. Nonetheless, I see Italy and Paraguay going through to the second round.
Paraguay showing a lot of possession early with Slovakia getting the occasionally counterattacking chance or two. Paraguay, especially for a South American side, plays a very conservative style of soccer which is concentrated on possession. Their players are talented, but the fan wishes for a little more flair.
Paraguay’s had a couple of chances, but nothing overly dramatic. People in the stands are doing the wave, another way of saying “we are so bored with the game, we’d rather concentrate on rhythmic, synchronized standing and sitting.” How good can a game be when you have to provide your own entertainment? I may start the wave with myself here at home as well.
Happily, Paraguay puts us out of our misery in the 26th minute which a pretty play through the middle off a poor clearance. Nice shot curls around the keeper into the corner. 1-0 Paraguay. This insures that, at some as yet undetermined point, Slovakia will be forced to attack madly to equalize. Unfortunately this point may be late in the second half.
We’re getting some chances both ways now—we can all dispense with the wave. Slovak keeper rescues his defense. Horrible pass back there. Slovakia misses a header. I’m just thrilled that we’re getting a little action.
Couple yellows cards come out—one per side—just before half. 1-0 Paraguay at this point.
Slovakia is bringing some heat here in the 2nd half, something for which we can all be thankful. Nothing has looked particularly dangerous yet, but at least we’ve got something of a game.
Paraguay is dominating in the 2nd. They’ve had a couple of chances whereas I’m not sure Slovakia has mounted anything worth mention.
Paraguay gets a second in the 85th minute. The Slovak midfielders were nowhere to be found and the four backs couldn’t handle everyone Paraguay had flooded in the attacking zone. 2-0 Paraguay.
Slovakia with a good turn and shot in extra time, their first decent chance of the day. Good save. By and large, Slovakia has just been completely outclassed. Final 2-0 Paraguay.