Thursday, June 15, 2006

For neither Paraguay nor Sweden is a win enough to qualify for round two, and a loss will, most likely, close the door for the loser. Both teams have a long way to go, before they can join with the last sixteen. So much is at stake this game, the tension is hazel thick.
It takes three minutes before Paraguay receives a yellow card for a nasty tackle.
“A lot of movement in the box, anticipating this free kick,” says the commentator.
The kick goes wide, nothing happens.
The referee issues another yellow for Paraguay.
“Hopefully this doesn’t get ugly,” says the commentator while another Swede bites into the grass. Paraguay plays hardball, while Sweden gets frustrated.
Frustrated or not, Sweden builds at its game. In the eighth minute, they have the first serious chance on a goal. However, the keeper of Paraguay times his dive down to the last fraction of a second. The repeat show him hanging in the air like superman, arms stretched, the ball locked in his hands. Paraguay has his world cup hero.
The Swedish attacks keep piling up, while the counters of Paraguay subside.
Sweden does not get the ball in the net, and Paraguay steals the momentum. They built up some potential, and the Swedes, on their turn, answers with a foul. Both sides are frustrated, and the game goes scoreless to halftime.

The first strike of the second half is for Paraguay. The ball ends into the net, the outside of the net. Frustration grows for Sweden while Paraguay gains control. A free kick from 25 meters is deflected of the wall of Sweden, it is Paraguay’s turn to be frustrated.
“Paraguay needs this much more then Sweden,” says the commentator, referring to the loss against Poland.
A striker from Paraguay moves the ball, minutes later, into the penalty box of Sweden.
“Can Valdez split up two defenders here,” the commentator says. However, the two defenders split Valdez’ plans.
The strain breaks up Paraguay’s thrust.
Sweden reclaims possession.
From the half line, the ball is extended to the penalty box, and a Swedish striker follows. He lobs the ball over the keeper, and the ball bounces towards the net. Just to be on the save side, he extends his leg to push it forward. He acts to slow. A defender of Paraguay keeps the dream alive and volleys the ball away of the goal. He will join the goalkeeper in Paraguay’s hall of fame.
“Sweden continues to struggle, playing very predictable tonight,” says the commentator as Paraguay finds renewed strength, and pushes on to a baffled Sweden. The game tips in favor of Paraguay, and they release a couple of shots on target, or better off target.
Sweden swings the scale back again. In the eighty-eight minute, A Swedish striker tries to flick the ball into the goal. Two feet from the goal line, with his back turned to it, he times his bicycle kick so his toes connect to the ball, which changes direction, 180 degrees.
“But it didn’t fooled the keeper,” says the commentator. I watch the man‘s reflexes in the repeat. He is playing the game of his life.
“A draw keeps Paraguay’s hopes alive,” say the commentator. It is more than hope, it is a dream. He should read my blogs.
Sweden crushes the dream in the 88th minute.
“The fans are rewarded for their support and dedication,” says the commentator as the Swedes finally break the score.


“This stadium is electrified,” says the commentator. “Paraguay now faces elimination.”
In stoppage time, the goalkeeper of Paraguay restores the memory of his performance in this game.
He fists the ball away in his last Superman-dive of the game.
The whistle blows, the dream goes to Scandinavia.

Paraguay cries, cries out his heart.