Will it be three Euro teams in the semis or two with two from South America? It’s Spain and Paraguay.
We all know who the more dirty-minded of you will be supporting. But in the end, this final round of 8 match pits the team that has has two 0-0 draws and beat Japan on penalties in possibly the most dour match of the tournament against the team that was one of the co-favorites but hasn’t really hit on all cylinders yet. Interesting stuff.
All of the ESPN folk seem to think Spain will roll here, but I’m not sure about that. Yes, they are easily the more talented side, but they haven’t shown me the real top-class play yet. Or maybe my expectation is just too high for them. I dunno.
I will be doing this liveblog from a pub, hopefully. I should be online a few minutes after this posts. I’ll post lineups as soon as I see them. Until I show up, have fun in the comments.
Pregame: So let’s see how this works. I’m at The Royal Falconer pub in Landon Donovan’s hometown of Redlands, CA. The wifi is nonexistant but I’ll make do. Hopefully it works. If not I’ll head home for the second half.
Pregame: Hope you all enjoy this one. There is a group of Paraguay fans here already. Nice.
pregame: My drink of choice today is the Alt Bier from Hangar 24 in Redlands. Mmmmmmmmm.
pregame: Suck it NYK. I’m here and ready. There is a booth full of Spanish fans that has taken part of pub. The paraguayans are on the other side. I’m at the bar. Good times.
pregame: The paraguayans brought vuvuzelas. The bartender, who’s name is Hannah, immediately takes it from them. She likes Manchester United. I like her.
Pregame: If they both get there, the tagline would have to be “It’s a Guay thing”. Amirite?
Pregame: Torres is playing. Will he be decent? Who knows. He hasn’t been so far. My prediction here is 1-0 Spain. But that’s not assured. I could also see this being a 0-0 penalty kick match.
Pregame: Glad to see lots of comments pregame. Sigh. Don’t make me do this alone. If I don’t see 30 comments from anonsters I will be hurt.
Pregame: I’m writing some of this on my Mac and some on my iPhone. I may not make it past halftime if I can’t find wifi. Hence some missing capitalization. Suck it Ryan.
Pregame: Racism bad!
Pregame: A guy here has a Spain flag as a cape. I might post pics. And I agree that this isn’t the sexiest match. That’s why I came to a pub to liveblog it. I need the sideshow.
Pregame: The spaniards in the bar are actually from Spain. The Paraguayan fans are mostly Mexican. I now support Spain for this reason.
Pregame: Two soul patch comments in a row? Didn’t know you all cared so much.
HERE WE GO!
1st minute: I’m already bored with this match. Just kidding.
1st minute: Chance! Paraguay moves right through and the new player gets the shot on goal. Could have shocked Spain. Oh, and Hannah Montana will be seen at a later time.
3rd minute: Spain look a little stunned to start. I see Paraguay going for a quick goal. If they don’t get it they’ll drop into a shell. Right now Paraguay has almost all the possession.
5th minute: Paraguay are also trying to make a physical statement early. Torres gets pushed off the ball and whines. The ref says play on.
6th minute: Spain are trying to settle the midfield. Smart.
7th minute: Corner for Spain. The whole bar goes ooooh when it falls harmlessly out.
8th minute: I believe Vera is out for fresh legs. Paraguay is definitely even so far.
9th minute: Piqué does well in the back. A nice cross in for Paraguay. Open header is put over the bar.
11th minute: Free kick for Paraguay in midfield. They’re in total physical control at this point. Spain needs to toughen up. The free kick ends up in row X.
13th minute: So here’s a poll question: This match or The Suite Life of Zack and Cody?
13th minute: Spain are starting to build possession. Just as I type that they lose it. Iker has now touched the ball six times already. Amazing.
15th minute: Blood! Meanwhile, Paraguay are starting to back off a little bit. I sense a bus is nearby, ready to be parked.
16th minute: A ball into the middle that the Paraguayan gk easily punches away. The Spanish midfield isn’t doing much of anything.
17th minute: the bloody Paraguayan isn’t able to return without clean shorts. They play with 10
20th minute: I don’t give a s**t about ramos’ hair.
20th minute: A lot of midfield play now. We got 15 minutes of action. Kinda like NYK’s adult years. Hey-o!!!!
21st minute: CHANCE for Paraguay. Great cross in but too tall.
22nd minute: Spain are too slow to attack Paraguay and the back line. The opportunity leaves quickly.
23rd minute: The Spain fans in the bar are already frustrated and with good reason. And I kid, nyk.
24th minute: I haven’t seen Torres have a good touch yet. Meanwhile Villa tries to break Spain free but Paraguay get back with ease.
27th minute: Villa makes a great run to the byline but flubs the cross. Almost immediately after, Torres makes the same run on the other side and gets nowhere. They are clearly frustrated.
28th minute: Out of nothing Spain get a great chance. Capdevila makes a nice pass through to xavi who flicks it up and hits a great volley just over the bar. But that’s the first real chance for them.
31st minute: Iniesta dives for a free kick. I yell that out loud. Many Spain fans hate me now. Much like you readers.
33rd minute: Into the wall. Fail horn.
34th minute: An amazing ball wide to Iniesta but he crosses instead of heading to goal and he misses Torres in the middle.
35th minute: WOW! Paraguay plays the counter o perfection but absolutely chokes. Should be 1-0 Paraguay. Good stuff the match is getting better.
36th minute: On second look the ball fr Paraguay was too high. Nevermind me calling it a choke.
38th minute: I’m honestly not sure what the result will be here anymore. And the second half could be quite gripping.
39thminute: Spain with another corner. But every time they might have an opening Paraguay shuts it down very quickly.
40th minute: Paraguay never fails at a chance to be physical with Spain and it’s taking a toll Torres chooses a long cross instead of taking paraguayans on. Kinda surprising.
41st minute: WOW! Paraguay scores! Except they don’t because of what looks like a good offside call. Then Torres breaks free but chokes the shot on goal. Good stuff here.
43rd minute: I think it was a good call. No goal. Paraguay are giving Spain all they can handle.
44th minute: I’ve switched to liveblog by iPhone exclusively. It seems to be working ok. Yes? As for the match, everyone seems to want to get to halftime.
45th minute: Paraguay on the break again. Open shot but it ends up in row z.
HALFTIME: 0-0 but not boring. Paraguay had some chances and Spain look frustrated. I need to pee and get a fourth beer. See you in 10.
HALFTIME: Just watched the replay up close. I might have to agree with you, LE. But Cardenas jumps for the ball and becomes active so it’s still a good call.
I have no idea what just happened. I just go to the bathroom and suddenly the liveblog is blown up! Well let’s do the second half in style shall we?
HALFTIME: those are some unhappy Spain fans. They think they should be winning 3-0 by now. I don’t disagree but I informed them that they aren’t as good as they think. They hate me.
46th minute: Here we go for the second half. I still have no idea what happened to my first half liveblog. F**k me.
47th minute: I guess the question for spain is whether they can adjust like Argentina couldn’t. And remember they lost to Switzerland in a similar style match.
49th minute: What changes will Spain make? Paraguay will be happy at 0-0 and take their chances in pks.
50th minute: Spain isn’t moving quickly enough to get through the back line. That’s surprising. Iniesta and biscuits haven’t done much. Again I hear “awwwwwww” from the Spanish fans.
52nd minute: Zzzzzzzz. Spain look a little lost now. No tactical changes and that’s not good.
53rd minute: Paraguay is committed to being the stronger team. It’s the right way to get Spain off their game.
54th minute: I now think extra time is inevitable.
56th minute: It’s almost Cesc-y time! He replaces Torres.
57th minute: I tell the guy next to me that I hate arsenal. The bartender smiles and agrees. I like her.
58th minute: PENALTY: piqué decides to hug cardoza and drags him down. And SAVE CASILLAS! What a weak pk.
60th minute:PENALTY! Diving c*** David Villa earns a penalty for Spain on the clearance. It was a clear dive! Xabi Alonso puts it away. But NO GOAL! Xavi encroached. They take it again and SAVE!!!!!!!!!!!
61st minute: That is some crazy s**t right there.
63rd minute: CHANCE!!!! Amazing save there from the Paraguayan keeper! Vera comes on for Paraguay. This bar is going nuts. Amazing stuff now.
66th minute: I just had to take a minute and catch my breath. How can we have 25 more minutes like this?!
67th minute: Paraguay with a free kick. Cleared.
68th minute: To be fair, aside from villa’s cheating dive, this ref got every call correct. Well done to him.
70th minute: Spain is knocking on the door again but iniesta puts it over the bar. This match is riveting now all four quarterfinals have been enthralling for different reasons.
72nd minute: Free kick to Spain. Xavi bends it in and the Paraguayan gk touches it but goal kick is the call.
73rd minute: RSC on for valdes. Meh.
73rd minute: A half chance for Paraguay is followed by a near break for Spain. Villa tries to dive again. Corner. And another corner.
76th minute: I had to plug my iPhone in. Near misses twice from Spain. Xabi Alonso is off for Pedro.
78th minute: Spain not changing style, harkes? Didn’t insay that an hour ago?
78th minute: We get a tiny lull in action. Whew.
79th minute: All respect to Paraguay. They don’t play pretty but the play well enough. Spain look the less organized side.
81st minute: I’m actually tired trying to keep up with this half. Both teams seem to be a touch worn out too.
82nd minute: goooooooooooooooooooooooooal!!!!!!!!
83rd minute: Great run from Spain. Slide across to Cesc. Post. Bounce to villa. Post then in. Spain 1-0 Paraguay. A-f**king-mazing.
85th minute: Spain has to get credit for sticking with this. They haven’t been the best for much of this match. But they have found a way. Now Paraguay are going all out. You can see a second for Spain.
88th minute: Was the post Pedro or cesc? And I guess this means no nudie pics of the porn star running through the capital.
89th minute: IKER!!!! RSC gets a gorgeous rebound but casillas makes a great save. The ball heads the other way and Villa makes the Paraguayan keeper make another great save. Wow.
90th minute: Three minutes extra. And Ramos gets a full boot in the face. The entire bar cringes. This is among the craziest halves of soccer I have ever seen. Ever.
90th+ minute: How much extra extra time? This is just nuts. Four amazing games in the quarterfinals. Not always the best quality but the drama was amazing.
FULLTIME: Spain 1-0 Paraguay. A bats**t crazy match. Well done to all. And thanks for reading. And thanks to The Royal Falconer in Redlands, CA, for the hospitality. If you’re ever in SoCal on the Landon Donovan stalking tour, check it out.