World Cup Preview from The Sports Network|
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-
"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
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