A very closed game in the first half, with Japan getting a couple of chances from range. Paraguay’s trying to loft something in from the wings and head past the smaller defenders, but nothing so far. Given the style of play, we need somebody to score to break this open. Otherwise I fear overtime then penalty kicks.
A better, meaning more attacking second half, but to overtime we go for more of the same. Not much to say here other than neither of these teams will get out of the final 8 no matter who wins.
Oh look: It’s penalties. Who would have guessed?
Paraguay is busy hugging their keeper. They got all kinds of love for him, likely because they know it’s all up to him now. I’ve never been a keeper in a game that’s gone to penalties, but I’ve been in several as a kicker, and it’s relatively nerve-wracking no matter how confident you are in your abilities (and I’m pretty confident). I’ve only missed one of note, and I’m happy to report that we won the game anyway.
One item of note: Keepers should stay in the middle, at least on a few of these shots. Hitting the corners isn’t as easy as it looks, especially after you’ve run for 120 minutes. If it’s going to the corner, you’re probably not saving it anyway. Stay in the middle and you’ll likely save 1 or 2.
Anyway, Paraguay up first. In. Not savable. 1-0. Japan’s shot: In. Also not savable. 1-1. Paraguay’s second: Passed into the corner; keeper guessed right, but it didn’t matter. 2-2. Japan’s 2nd: Goal. 2-2. Blew it into the corner. No chance. Paraguay’s 3rd: In. Keeper guessed wrong. Should have stood in the middle for a better chance. 3-2. Japan’s 3rd: Off the post and out! 3-2 Paraguay! Paraguay’s 4th: In! Rocket down the middle. 4-2. Japan has to make this 4th shot: Goal down the middle! 4-3. Paraguay’s 5th will win it: Takes it slow, waits for the keeper lean and nets it to the other side! Paraguay wins!