Spain beat Paraguay 1-0 last night to reach the semifinals of the World Cup for the first time. Germany defeated Argentina 4-0, handing the South Americans their worst loss at the tournament in 36 years.
David Villa scored in the 83rd minute to give Spain the quarterfinal victory in Johannesburg, while Germany’s Miroslav Klose scored twice in the second half in Cape Town. The two teams meet July 7 in a rematch of Spain’s 1-0 victory in the 2008 European Champions final.
“We’ll be playing Germany again but it has nothing to do with what happened two years ago,” Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta told reporters. “Germany has played a brilliant World Cup so far, they must be tremendously motivated. We are keen to progress as far as we can in this World Cup.”
The Netherlands will play Uruguay in the other semifinal July 6. The Dutch knocked out favored Brazil two days ago and Uruguay beat Ghana in a penalty shootout to become the only one of four South American teams to win in the quarterfinals.
Villa’s goal capped a second half at Ellis Park in which both goalkeepers stopped penalty kicks.
Spain’s Pedro Rodriguez hit the post with seven minutes left and the ball went right to Villa, whose shot hit the right post then bounced across the goal line and hit the left post before going in for his tournament-leading fifth goal.
Spain’s Iker Casillas stopped Oscar Cardozo’s penalty in the 59th minute and one minute later Spain’s Xabi Alonso scored from the spot.
Referee Carlos Batres, however, waved the goal off and ruled players had encroached the penalty area. Paraguay’s Justo Villar stopped Alonso’s re-kick and appeared to trip Cesc Fabregas in the area as he went for the rebound but no foul was given.
Paraguay’s Nelson Valdez put the ball in the net in the 41st minute but it was disallowed for offside against Oscar Cardozo.
Spain had lost its three previous trips to the quarterfinals, while Paraguay was in the final eight for the first time.
“I don’t feel happy or satisfied,” Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino told reporters. “Making history was trying to be there in the last week of this World Cup.”
Argentina suffered its worst World Cup loss since a 4-0 defeat to the Netherlands in 1974 and was ousted by Germany in the quarterfinals for the second straight time.
“This is really like a kick in the face,” Argentina coach Diego Maradona told reporters at Green Point Stadium. “I have no more energy for anything.”
Klose Ties Muller
“My team showed great resolve, great willingness to win,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said at a news conference. “In doing so, it wasn’t just high-level internationally, but a true champion’s performance.”
Germany went in front less than three minutes into the game as Mueller headed in Bastian Schweinsteiger’s free kick.
FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi hit the German wall with a free kick late in the first half and the ball wound up in the net off the rebound, but the score was disallowed as four Argentina players were offside.
Klose made it 2-0 by scoring off a pass from Lukas Podolski in the 68th minute and Friedrich tapped in Schweinsteiger’s cross six minutes later. Klose then scored his second goal in the 89th minute.