20/6/2010 Venue: Free State Stadium Ref: Eddy Maillet Att: 26633
Starting Line up
Slovakia: 1-Jan Mucha; 2-Peter Pekarik, 3-Martin Skrtel, 16-Jan Durica, 6-Zdeno Strba, 7-Vladimir Weiss, 8-Jan Kozak, 21-Kornel Salata (Stoch, 83), 17-Marek Hamsik, 11-Robert Vittek, 9-Stanislav Sestak (Holosko, 70).Paraguay: 1-Justo Villar, 6-Carlos Bonet, 21-Antolin Alcaraz, 14-Paulo Da Silva, 3-Claudio Morel, 13-Enrique Vera (Barreto, 87), 15-Victor Caceres, 16-Cristian Riveros, 9-Roque Santa Cruz, 18-Nelson Valdez (Torres, 68), 19-Lucas Barrios (Cardozo, 82).
Paraguay had excellent match against current world champion, Italy and could've beat them if it wasn't De Rossi's tap in. However, throughout the game, Paraguay showed their full potential of their own ability, proving their qualification was not a fluke.
Slovakia, on the other hand, had a shocking start. Until the injury time against New Zealand, they thought, they snatched their victory by Vittek's goal. Instead, it was their promising player, Winston Reid's header, denying Slovakia's first win at World Cup final. Missed opportunity and they are facing a lot harder opponent to record their first victory at this stage today.
With Roque Santa Cruz back in the squad, Paraguay looked more threatening than sloppy Slovakian side and, after various chances from Paraguay, in 27th minute, with Barrios' excellent pass, Vera slotted in to make 0-1. Slovakia fought back in set-piece but Salata's header put the ball over the bar. Paraguay almost had second when Slovakia was dispossessed in their territory but Santa Cruz's was well-saved by Mucha. HT: 0-1
Unfortunately, Slovakia did not wake in the second half. Besides the game, they were never able to press Paraguayan midfield and became far too exposed on both flanks. Several chances to cross went badly wrong and with better Paraguay pressing, they stood no chance.
After several chances gone begging for Paraguay, in 85th minute, Riveros eventually converted one of their numerous chances to make it 0-2 and Slovakia couldn't do anyhing to fight back. No desire and willingness from key player, like Hamsik, cost Slovakia the game dearly and they will face World Champion Italy next. FT: 0-2