Slovakia on Sunday lost 0:2 to Paraguay in their second Group F game in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and now appears unlikely to progress further in the tournament unless they can put in a much better performance against Italy on June 24 and win the match, the TASR newswire wrote.
Slovakia needed to win Sunday's match more than Paraguay after both teams drew their opening matches last Tuesday, June 15. Paraguay had secured a point against group front-runner Italy, while Slovakia was held to a tie by New Zealand, which before the tournament began at least, was seen as the weakest team in the group.
It was Paraguay which appeared more willing to attack in the first half hour. The Slovak defence seemed to be coping reasonably well until the 27th minute when they gave the ball away after a throw-in deep in their own half. Paraguay's Barrios pounced on the loose ball and slipped it to Vera, who curled it with the outside of his boot past Slovak goalkeeper Ján Mucha, TASR wrote. Slovakia was forced more onto the attack. Their only good chance came from a corner in the 36th minute, when Kornel Salata was given a free header but he failed to keep the ball down, sending it well over the bar.
Slovakia started the second half fairly brightly, trying to work the ball down the wings, but they appeared lacking enough guile to break down the Paraguayan defence and were unable to create much at all. As the half progressed, they became more and more frustrated, reverting to long-ball tactics, which were easily dealt with by the South Americans, who looked extremely comfortable and able to step up a gear if required.
Paraguay always looked more likely to score whenever they attacked and they managed to seal their victory in the 86th minute. The Slovak defence failed to clear a free kick lofted forward into the penalty area and Reviros smashed the ball into the net from just inside the box. Slovakia only threatened to score once when a good long-range effort by Vittek in the second minute of extra-time forced the Paraguayan keeper to tip the ball over the crossbar.
The Slovak team will now have to beat Italy on June 24 to stand any chance of advancing to the last 16. Italy is also struggling, however, drawing 1:1 with New Zealand on Sunday. Paraguay now heads the group with 4 points. Italy and New Zealand have 2 points each, while Slovakia has only 1 point.
Group F 2nd Round Summary: Slovakia - Paraguay 0:2 (0:1) Goals: 27, Vera. 86, Riveros.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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21. Jun 2010 at 15:00