Vuvuzela Rating 5.7 – Annoying Drone
Literally tens of fans turned up to the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, with many fans struggling to arrive on time due to being unable to spell the region correctly in their SatNav’s or simply having better things to do. Those that did turn up did so to see the Group F clash between Paraguay and Slovakia, with both sides having failed to win their opening fixtures, a lot of emphasis was being put onto this tie as an opportunity to gain valuable World Cup pointage. Paraguay came into the game as the bookmaker’s favourites after their draw with defending champions Italy. Slovakia’s campaign got off to a slow start, only managing a 1-1 draw against a New Zealand team which contained two cricketers, three rugby players and a sheep.
Paraguay had the best of the early exchanges, with the recalled Roque Santa Cruz looking uncharacteristically menacing going forward. The South Americans had a good chance after 10 minutes when Martin Skrtel executed a perfect roundhouse kick to the back of Barrios but nothing came of the resulting free kick. Curiously, Lucas Barrios chose to wear a shirt bearing only his Christian name in the hope of being confused for Liverpool flopster Lucas Leiva and encouraging scouts to attend the games.
After 25 minutes it was Paraguay who opened the scoring, and the fake Lucas was involved once more, slipping a great ball through to Enrique Vela who finished the move superbly with the outside of his right foot into the top corner. The South Americans deserved their lead and the goal had been coming right since the word go. Slovakia seemed to realise at this point that their tournament lives hung in the balance, Hamsik looking threatening but failing to escape the attentions of the aptly named Antolin Alcaraz.
At half time it was obvious that the suicide school of defending that Slovakia were employing could be their undoing unless things were to change in the second half. It was clear after the break that Slovakia were going to try and get themselves into the game, imposing more pressure upon the Paraguayan defence. Although this change of tact brought chances for Robert Vittek and Marek Hamsik, in truth, they looked about as likely to score as Britain winning Eurovision. Paraguay sat in wait and attacked on the break but failed to find the killer pass as they had done in the first half.
As things became more desperate and defences more stretched, Paraguay killed off the game as a contest once and for all. Paulo Da Silva cushioning a cross into the path of the onrushing Christian Riveros, and after he executed a perfect do-si-do with Santa Cruz lashed the ball home from 18 yards. Following this crushing blow, manager Vladimir Weiss dialled Air Slovakia to find out what the allowance was for duty free alcohol on their plane home, clearly resigned to his sides fate. It ended 2-0 and Paraguay deserved the 3 points, they will go into a game with New Zealand full of confidence. The Slovakian players however, may struggle to even get out of bed as the thought of their final group game against Italy plays on their minds.
Match Statistics (Powered by Optajoke)
60 – A total of 1400 seats were occupied for this game, 60% of them had to be given away in order for fans to attend. Quiet.
4 – Of the 6 coaching staff in the Paraguayan camp, 4 of them still think Jose Luis Chilavert is playing in goal. Legend.