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GROUP B ROUNDUP

Spain, Paraguay Move On

June 13, 2002|GRAHAME L. JONES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Spain continued its impressive march through the World Cup on Wednesday, winning for the third time in as many games as forward Raul scored twice to pace a 3-2 victory over South Africa in front of 31,024 in Daejeon, South Korea.

Coach Jose Antonio Camacho's squad clinched first place in Group B and will play Ireland on Sunday in the second round.

"From now on it will be sudden death and Spain will play to win," Camacho said, as if there were a choice.

The loss ousted South Africa from the tournament.

South Africa might still have made it, but when Paraguay scored its third goal in a 3-1 victory over Slovenia, it meant Paraguay advanced with a better goal total after tying South Africa on points.

"We did well, we showed guts," said South Africa Coach Jomo Sono, whose team twice came from behind to tie Spain but could not manage the trick a third time.

"We gave away silly goals and got punished," Sono said, "but we can't blame anybody."

He could start by blaming goalkeeper Andre Arendse, who was clearly at fault on two of the Spanish goals. First, he allowed the ball to escape his grasp in the fourth minute, giving Raul the easiest of open-net goals. Later, he was badly positioned and caught flat-footed on a free-kick goal by Gaizka Mendieta seconds before halftime.

Each time South Africa responded, with Benni McCarthy scoring in the 31st minute to cancel Raul's strike and Lucas Radebe heading home another tying goal in the 53rd minute to keep South Africa alive.

But Raul headed in the winner just three minutes later and this time South Africa had no reply.

"We are all disappointed, because Paraguay is not a team that deserves to be in the second round," McCarthy said. South Africa had come from behind to tie Paraguay, 2-2, earlier in the tournament.

Paraguay 3, Slovenia 1--On a bleak day for Argentina, Paraguay gave South American fans one reason to smile when it staged a remarkable comeback to clinch a place in the second round.

The victory, in front of 30,176 in Seogwipo, South Korea, tied Paraguay on points with South Africa in Group B, and Paraguay advanced to the round of 16 because it scored six goals in three games compared to South Africa's five.

The third Paraguayan goal was the clincher, and it came only six minutes from the end of the game on a fierce 20-yard shot by Nelson Cuevas that slammed into the underside of the crossbar before rebounding down into the net.

Making the comeback remarkable was the fact that Paraguay had to play a man short for more than an hour after Carlos Paredes received two yellow cards in the first 22 minutes.

In addition, Paraguay gave up a goal just before halftime when Slovenia's Milenko Acimovic scored from a narrow angle with a shot that goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert failed to handle properly.

But Paraguay Coach Cesare Maldini made two key substitutions in the second half, sending Jorge Campos on in the 54th minute and Cuevas on in the 62nd minute. They produced all three goals.

First, Cuevas made a superb run into the Slovenian penalty area, finishing it with a shot just inside the left post. Then, Campos blasted another shot past goalkeeper Mladen Dabanovic in the 73rd minute. Then came Cuevas' goal that put Paraguay in the final 16.

"We have to suffer in football and our team today suffered a lot," Maldini said. "We had to fight a lot in this match. We had some difficulties, especially after Paredes went out, but our team is in good physical condition and they play very well."

Paraguay will play Germany in the second round.

"It will be a very difficult match, as are all matches at the World Cup," Maldini said. "We will relax, we have time to think about it, and we will play as we know how and see what happens."

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