Sunday, June 20, 2010 (All times Eastern)
Slovakia (0-0-1) vs. Paraguay (0-0-1), 7:30 a.m.
Bloemfontein, South Africa (Sports Network) - Slovakia manager Vladimir Weiss described a 1-1 draw against New Zealand as a "minor sporting tragedy," but on Sunday, knows complete focus must switch to a crucial match against Paraguay.
Slovakia allowed a 93rd-minute goal to New Zealand's Winston Reid, spoiling an otherwise strong performance in the country's FIFA World Cup debut.
"We were the better team throughout the match," Weiss said. "It's incredibly frustrating, the way we failed to take our chances and then conceded a last- minute equalizer."
"Winning would have been the perfect start, but conceding a goal in the last minute has changed everything," Slovakia midfielder Vladimir Weiss, the coach's son, added.
Slovakia's Robert Vittek, who scored his team's lone goal against New Zealand, believes the squad has no choice but to move on after dropping points against the weakest team in Group F.
"We've put ourselves in an extremely difficult position, but we need to forget about the points we've dropped ... and simply move on," Vittek said.
Slovakia remains in solid position to advance entering the last two matches in group play, since Italy and Paraguay tied 1-1 in the other match.
With Paraguay presenting a big test Sunday at Free State Stadium, Slovakia cannot afford any more letdowns or the knockout round likely won't be an option.
Antolin Alcaraz handed Paraguay a first-half lead against Italy, but the 2006 World Cup winners responded through Daniele De Rossi in the second half of the other opening-round match in Group F.
"We're really pleased to have gone toe-to-toe with the reigning world champions and, above and beyond the result, we're very satisfied with our performance, particularly as it's the start of the World Cup," Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino said.
Midfielder Enrique Vera knows Paraguay must continue to improve to advance and a result against Slovakia would be the first step in the right direction.
"We know that we've got to keep improving," Vera said, "but it was a good result and one we're happy with."
06/19 13:28:59 ET