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Late goal sends Germany through

Santa Cruz (left) head to head with Germany's Frings
Santa Cruz (left) head to head with Germany's Frings  

SOGWIPO, South Korea -- Germany became the first team into the World Cup quarterfinals after beating Paraguay 1-0 with a goal in the dying minutes of the game.

Oliver Neuville scored the crucial goal with just three minutes to play when he met a low cross at the near post to volley past Paraguay keeper Jose Luis Chilavert.

Germany stepped up the pressure after a drab first half to produce a series of half-chances but the game appeared to be heading into extra time when Neuville stepped up to secure a quarterfinal tie with the either Mexico or USA.

In injury time Roberto Acuna was sent off for elbowing as Paraguay attempted to resurrect their World Cup dream.

Neuville was Germany's brightest star producing a diving save from keeper Jose Luis Chilavert with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

And a Neuville near post corner came close to panicking Paraguay until the flick on header was colllected by the keeper.

Goalkeeper Chilavert had the chance to break the deadlock at the other end when he took a freekick on the edge of the German box but his shot was high over the bar.

The first-half was largely a quiet affair with little goalmouth action as both teams tentatively probed the other for weaknesses.

Paraguay centre back Celso Ayala could not hit the target with his volley after finding himself unmarked in the penalty area and Jorge Campos forced Oliver Khan to punch clear his shot when a long ball bounced over the German defence and into his path.

Paraguay were organised in defence while in attack they attempted to breach the German defence with high balls that rarely threatened a goal.

Germany attempted to play though midfield but tenacious tackling saw most first-half attacks break down early. As the game progressed Germany seemed the more likely to score.

Germany had made three changes and Paraguay two changes to their starting lineups of their previous matches because of suspensions.

Germany Oliver Kahn, Torsten Frings, Thomas Linke, Marko Rehmer, Christoph Metzelder, Bernd Schneider, Jens Jeremies, Michael Ballack, Marco Bode, Miroslav Klose, Oliver Neuville.

Paraguay Jose Luis Chilavert, Franciso Arce, Carlos Gamarra, Celso Ayala, Julio Cesar Caceres, Denis Caniza, Carlos Bonet, Roberto Acuna, Estanislao Struway, Jose Cardozo, Roque Santa Cruz

Referee Carlos Batres (Guatemala)



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