Pretoria: Paraguay just managed to clinch a spot in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup for the first time in their history as Yuichi Komano's penalty miss sent Japan crashing out of the tournament.
It was the first time in this edition of the FIFA World Cup that the match had stretched till penalty shootout stage.
A heartbreak for Komano and his Japanese team-mates as they were
also looking to make history and qualify for the first time in FIFA
World Cup history.
At normal time both teams tried hard to break the deadlock and find the winning goal. Paraguay initially enjoyed much possession but were struggling to find the final touch. Lucas Barrios for Paraguay got a good chance to take his side a goal ahead after making a good run in the Japan penalty area, but eventually he hit his shot straight to the hands of Eiji Kawashima.
Then Roque Santa Cruz was found unmarked around the 28th minute-mark but he was rather surprised to get the ball, and hesitant and fired the ball wide off the mark. Minutes later Japan came up with a promising play, Matsui and Honda combining well, but in the end Honda just tried for a long-distance shot wide off the mark, though he had unmarked Yoshito Okubo at his left.
As second half play resumed it was Paraguay who started off brightly as Nestor Ortigoza made a teasing run towards the Japanese penalty area but was eventually halted by the defenders. Both the teams were could just come up with half-chances after that and finished goalless till the first 90 minutes and extra 30 minutes.
Komano was the only player to miss the penalty for both sides. Paraguay will now face Spain in the quarter-finals.