Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Villa the difference as Spain beat Portugal 1-0



Villa the difference as Spain beat Portugal 1-0

CAPE TOWN, South Africa: Spain's David Villa scored off his own rebound, finally breaking down Portugal's defense in a 1-0 victory that put the European champs in the World Cup quarterfinal.

Villa took Xavi Hernandez' heel pass in the 63rd minute, but his left-footed shot was saved by Portuguese goalkeeper Eduardo. He then fired the rebound with his right foot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.

It was Villa's fourth goal of the tournament.

Spain will play Paraguay in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

While Villa is tied for the lead in scoring at the World Cup, it was a disappointing tournament for Cristiano Ronaldo, the world's most expensive player. His only goal came late in Portugal's 7-0 rout of North Korea in group play, and he had a quiet night against Spain.

His best attempt Tuesday came from a free kick in the 28th minute when he launched the ball from 35 yards with such a dipping swerve that all Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas could do was block it with his body and see the ball bounce free.

Otherwise, Portugal could rely little on its captain. As he was pointing left and right where his teammates should go, he often walked.

This was 33rd time the Iberian neighbors have met in soccer, but the first time in the World Cup. Spain has won 16 of the matches to Portugal's five.

Portugal went out of the tournament after conceding its first goal in four games.

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