In a fashion typical of this match, the penalty kick shootout was decided not by a great shot or terrific save, but by a miss. Yuichi Komano stepped up for Japan after 2 makes by each side and shot a rocket into the bar and over. Paraguay’s 2 subsequent cool finishes ended Japan’s run and sent Paraguay into the waiting arms of the quarterfinals.
Really, no one *deserved* to win this match. Paraguay wrangled the ball for more of the match, but they had a slew of ugly, overplayed crosses as well as some stiff bodies in the box who looked like they couldn’t be bothered to wrest the ball from Japan. The Japanese, meanwhile, looked nothing like the team that dissected Denmark. Instead, they played for the counterattack, forgetting along the way how to finish one.
Glad to get the taste of that one out of my mouth before the Spain-Portugal match; this would’ve been a sad way to finish 19 straight days of footy.