PRETORIA, June 29 (Agencies): Paraguay advanced to the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time with a 5-3 victory over Japan in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw on Tuesday.
Oscar Cardozo clinched the win with a low left-footed drive past goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima. The only miss in the shootout was by Japan defender Yuichi Komano on the third try when he hit the crossbar. That made the difference.
The Paraguayans are the fourth South American team into the final eight; only Chile fell short, and it lost to Brazil in the second round.
When Cardozo easily beat Kawashima to end the exhausting match and nerve-racking shootout, his teammates stormed onto the field in celebration of the nation’s biggest World Cup win. Cardozo pulled at his jersey, goalkeeper Justo Villar jumped on him, and they were quickly swarmed on by the whole team.
Japanese players watched the final shot on their knees with their arms around each other. When it went into the net, they let go and sagged. Keiji Tamada fell onto his back, while Japanese players and fans wept.
Paraguay will play the winner of Tuesday night’s Spain-Portugal match in the quarterfinals on Saturday.