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Paraguay stalemate extinguishes New Zealand hopes

| 24.06.2010

Despite ending the World Cup unbeaten, New Zealand have been knocked out following a 0-0 draw with Paraguay.

A win would have secured for the outsiders a surprising place in the last 16, but a third draw meant that New Zealand’s run ended at the group stage.

Paraguay finish Group F as winners, and they will be joined in the second round by Slovakia, who knocked out World Cup holders Italy with a monumental 3-2 win.

This match, in contrast to Slovakia’s thrilling victory, never threatened to enter the realms of moderate entertainment, and the 0-0 scoreline reflected a tepid encounter.

New Zealand goalkeeper Mark Paston denied both Edgar Benitez and Cristian Riveros with excellent, athletic saves in the second half.

The closest New Zealand came to a goal, meanwhile, was Simon Elliott’s well-hit shot which fizzed past the angle of post and crossbar.

A tame first half provided no clear goalscoring opportunities, as Paraguay dominated possession but rarely caused any difficulties for New Zealand.

Paraguay can now look forward to a round of 16 tie with either Denmark or Japan, who face each other later this evening to decide who finishes second in Group E.

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Author

Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.