World Cup Soccer
               === Paraguay will have trouble stopping Spain ===
 Johannesburg, South  Africa (Sports Network) - Spain coach Vincente del Bosque
 admitted a few days ago "it's difficult to stop us" when we're in top form, so
 Paraguay faces a huge challenge Saturday in the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals.
 Spain entered the World Cup with just one loss in its last 48 games, and since
 starting  the  tournament with a  1-0 defeat  to Switzerland, has regained the
 form that resulted in a Euro 2008 title.
 The Spaniards topped Portugal in the round of 16, 1-0, to advance to the final
 eight for the fourth time in the last seven World Cups. Now, Spain will try to
 get back to the semifinals for the first time since 1950.
 Spain has never won the World Cup, but arrived in South Africa as the favorite
 - even ahead of Brazil. Although Spain struggled in its opener, it has cruised
 through the rest of its matches with wins over Honduras, Chile and Portugal.
 "This is a team that wants to make history and we'll just have to wait and see
 if luck's on our side," Del Bosque said.
 David Villa has four of Spain's five goals and assisted on the other. He would
 be  alone atop  the scoring  list if  not for  a missed  penalty kick  against
 Villa also scored against Chile and scored the match-winner in the second half
 against Portugal.
 "We have a lot of confidence in ourselves and in our potential," Villa said.
 Paraguay defeated Japan in penalty kicks, 5-3, after the teams played to a 0-0
 draw  through 120 minutes. Paraguay, among four  South American teams to reach
 the  final  eight, advanced to  the quarterfinals for  the first time in their
 Although Paraguay wasn't impressive in the group stage, it managed to end atop
 the  standings with  a  win over  Slovakia  and draws  against  Italy and  New
 Paraguay's offense has betrayed coach Gerardo Martino, as the team hasn't been
 able to score in their last two games. However, he's obviously thrilled to get
 his team through the opening stage of the knockout round.
 "We've taken another step forward, but we've not achieved our goals yet. Let's
 hope we can  recover quickly and keep making history," Martino said.
 Antolin  Alcaraz, Cristian Riveros and Enrique Vera each have one goal for the
 Paraguayans - or one less combined than Villa - but winning ugly has worked in
 the World Cup before.
 Paraguay will need an even better defensive effort in the quarterfinal against
 Spain, which features one of the most dynamic teams in the world, but the team
 is confident, according to forward Lucas Barrios.
 "The team's doing really well," Barrios said, "we're very united and we can go
 07/02 12:42:27 ET

Powered by The Sports Network.

Sports Plus - Ruidoso News