Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Jay Scardina On June - 20 - 2010

Slovakia vs Paraguay

Slovakia played the second match on Sunday against the heavily favored, Paraguay. The match was played at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, and it proved to be a great preview for one team who will be making it into the next round. I wrote in an earlier article, that I thought this would be Slovakia’s toughest match. Much like Slovakia, Paraguay are a young and fast team, they movie the ball quickly. Even though they only scored once on Italy, they still looked like the better side. Slovakia had to have an Italy like defense, and at least tie the game if they wanted to have keep their chances alive.

The game started with both sides being pretty even. Slovakia took an early chance but Sestak was called offsides. Paraguay tried a tight cross, but it was too long. Then the game shifted in Paraguay’s favor and they did not let go of their grip on the match. Santa Cruz fired one on target, but it was saved by the Slovakian goalkeeper, Mucha. Slovakia were chasing their opponents all over the field, and they did not get much possession on the ball. Then Vera, came out of nowhere down the middle and shot a short pass into the net at 27 minutes. The Slovakian defense scrambled to get Vera, who took a fall after the shot from one of the defenders. I feel that had he not scored it could have been ruled a penalty kick for Paraguay. Slovakia tried to come back quickly with some nice passes to Weiss and Vittek both missing them. Hamsik also had a chance on goal that was missed. Hamsik for the most part played very much like he did in the last game. I still think that he’s a great player, but we have all seen great players not do so well on the national team. I could not understand why Slovakia made so many bad passes back to the defenders and to the goalie. There were a couple of bad passes made to the back, and Paraguay almost converted one of them into another goal. Slovakia’s only other chance in the first half came from a corner kick, but it was not much of a threat.
The first half ended with both teams having one player with a yellow card. Durica for Slovaki and Vera for Paraguay.

The second half did not open up well for the Slovakians, as Sestak was shown a yellow card at 47minutes. Even Weiss was shown a yellow later towards the end of the game. This was a clear display that Slovakia was getting very frustrated with their lack of possession and poor chances on goal. Paraguay’s defense stopped many of the Slovak’s crosses with Alcaraz being involved with many of those defensive plays. Hamsik was almost completely absent in the second half. The only Slovakian player that looked impressive was Weiss. He looked great taking the ball down the wing, but there was very little support from Vittek or Sestak. I think that Slovakia’s 4-4-2 formation in the game really hurt them. The Slovakian defense looked worn out, and at 86 minutes Riveros scored a goal, lifting Paraguay 2-0. Slovakia tried to get at least a consolation goal, with Vittek’s shot blocked by Paraguay’s keeper, . That seemed to be Slovakia’s only shot on goal in the entire second half.

Paraguay looks to have secured their place in the knockout rounds. Slovakia are currently in last place with one point. Paraguay only have to tie or win against New Zealand, which doesn’t look like a difficult task for them. Meanwhile, Slovakia have to beat Italy and hope that Paraguay win. That situation would put them in second place, but I don’t think that they would do well in the knockout rounds. It would be a really big set back for the title holders not to make it to the next round. While Slovakia would be happy to make second in their group, Italy will make it very tough for them.

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