A generally slow-paced dull game waited for its first clear chance when Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz came one versus one with the Japanese goalkeeper who blocked the weak low shot with his feet 20 minutes into play. Tayishuki responded with a shot that crushed against the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten.
Japan’s blue sea of midfielders made it difficult for Paraguay to penetrate, and was very swift in moving forward to attack. Paraguay on their part, were very patient in their build-ups. 5 minutes later, Cruz was surprised when the ball suddenly landed at his feet from 10 yards, pulling the trigger but missing the target by miles.
Paraguay approached the match with a negative first round match attitude not to lose. They picked up the pace in the second half attacking the Japanese relentlessly, but only for a moment. The Japanese parked a Blue bus in front of their goal and counter-attacked, missing a few obvious chances.
The game went into extra-time at 0-0. The blank-firing Cruz was understandably replaced early on. Japan wasted a glorious opportunity to send Paraguay home with 5 minutes of play remaining. After that, penalty-kicks were inevitable.
Paraguay; 1 1 1 1 1
Japan; 1 1 0 1