Final score - after penalties - 127'
(5)0 - 0(3)
14:00 +00:00, June 29, 2010
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria, South Africa
Referee: Frank De Bleeckere (BEL)
Join us at 18.30GMT for Portugal vs Spain. After this, it cannot fail to be a classic.
Comment from John Brewin at Loftus Versfeld Stadium: Cruel on Japan and Komano but they cannot say they did enough to win. The same is true of Paraguay but they took their chance. Spain and Portugal need fear very little.
Cardozo scores easily and Japan are out! That was a lovely penalty. Ends a truly wretched game of football.
GOAL! 5-3! Paraguay win!
Cardozo for Paraguay. If he scores Paraguay win...
GOAL! 4-3. Beautiful pen. Rolled in.
Honda for Japan. Crucial pen...
GOAL! 4-2 Paraguay! Blasted in!
Valdez for Paraguay...
He misses! Hits the bar.
Komano for Japan...
GOAL! 3-2 Paraguay. Confident pen, rolls it in.
Riveros next up for Paraguay...
GOAL! 2-2. Great pen. Fierce pen from Hasebe
Hasebe for Japan...
GOAL! 2-1 Paraguay. Just scored after Kawashima guesses the right way.
Barrios for Paraguay...
GOAL! 1-1 Sends the keeper the wrong way. Great pen.
Endo to take Japan's first...
GOAL! 1-0 Paraguay. Hard and low.
Paraguay to take the first pen. It's Barreto...
Villar and Kawashima are the keepers that will face the penalties...
Penalties will kick off in a minute or two. The first shootout of the 2010 World Cup.
Comment from John Brewin at Loftus Versfeld Stadium: The occasion has got to both sides and they now face a test of the nerve that neither have shown.
That's full time! Penalties. Thank goodness for that.
Riveros (Paraguay) picks up a deserved yellow for handball.
Japan come close! Paraguay exposed at the back after Japan counter attack through Nagatomo, whose cross finds Honda but his header is saved.
Endo (Japan) is booked for a late tackle on Vera. The ref should use his discretion, that was the tackle of a tired man. Endo will miss the next game. Big miss for Japan is they get through here.
But Paraguay break and force a corner...
Paraguay's defenders throw themselves into three or four consecutive tackles. Defending for their lives here.
Takeshi Okada rallies his troops as penalties approach
Poor free kick. Cleared.
Will we be put out of our misery during extra time or is this going to penalties? Japan have a free kick in Paraguay's half, Endo to take...
Tamada for Okubo (Japan)
Paraguay kick off the second period of extra time.
Both leggy sides have 15 minutes until that becomes a reality.
Wow, this is awful. It's had penalties written all over for the past hour.
That's the end of the first half of extra time.
Barrios is penalised for handball. Honda received a yellow for the same thing earlier. So where's the yellow for Barrios? Inconsistent.
Paraguay's players prepare for extra time
Paraguay come close again after another good delivery from Morel. Barreto in the box stuck his head at the ball but it loops over the bar.
Honda strikes it well but the keeper Villar palms it away for a corner. I don't know why Nakamura didn't touch that to redirect it goalwards.
Honda standing over it...
But Japan go up the other end and win a soft free kick. I think even the ref wants a goal...
Valdez makes a quick turn and his sliding shot is smothered by Kawashima. That's as close as Paraguay have come.
Barreto comes close with a header but, again, Kawashima is untroubled.
Having said that, penalties have been on Japan's mind since the first minute.
Japan have one sub left but Paraguay have used all of theirs. I'm sure penalties is on both the coach's minds now.
Could be a decent sub for Paraguay. Benfica's Cardozo was the top scorer in the Portuguese league last season with 38 goals. Why was he on the bench?
Cardozo for Santa Cruz (Paraguay)
But Paraguay get it away and break with Valdez who does well initially in beating his man but his low across the box from the left is woeful, as you'd expect. Chance is gone.
Okubo is clearly tripped and Japan can launch this into the box...
Japan win a corner but Okazaki's header is just over the bar.
ESPN Stats & Info: Only two second round games have ever finished scoreless (Switzerland-Ukraine in 2006 and Ireland-Romania in 1990).
Extra time is underway...
Something mildly interesting that happened in the second half
Comment from John Brewin at Loftus Versfeld Stadium: That was a full-time score apparent from almost the first minutes. Nerves have got the better of these teams. The rules of extra-time are being explained to us by the stadium announcer. Penalties are surely inevitable.
That's 90 minutes. Extra time (and probably penalties) coming up...
Honda (Japan) is penalised for handball. Very very harsh. It wasn't even handball.
ESPN Stats & Info: There has never been a penalty shootout at the World Cup that did not involve a European side.
Good delivery by Endo, Tanaka flicks it on but it is cleared away.
Honda has been pushed in the back by Morel. Last chance for Japan... Endo standing over it.
We have 3 added minutes to endure before 30 minutes of extra time.
Nothing I can say will make this game more exciting. Just awful.
Japan are going for this, with 3 minutes of normal time left.
Honda flicks a beautiful pass into the path of Okazaki but he is too slow to latch onto it.
Japan are enjoying a solid five minutes of pressure here. A series of throw-ins in attacking positions are pinning Paraguay back in the latter stages.
I think a goal is too much to ask here.
Nagatomo puts a great cross in to Okubo, who collides with Villar. Both are receiving treatment. This counts as a moment of genuine excitement.
Kengo Nakamura for Abe (Japan)
Endo has gone down after being clattered by Morel. Looks to be making a lot out of nothing to be honest.
Decent long-range effort by the substitute Barreto, which finds the arms of Kawashima.
Yuto Nagatomo will miss the quarter-final if Japan qualify
Barreto for Ortigoza (Paraguay)
Paraguay launch another long ball into the box but Japan hack it clear. At the expense of a corner...
Nagatomo (Japan) Nagatomo is cautioned for tugging back Valdez. Misses the next game.
Japan look dangerous at times but Paraguay must change their system to unlock the deep-lying Japanese.
The most entertaining thing about this game has been the crowd
Kawashima has missed the ball there and clattered his own defender, Tanaka. Tanaka doesn't look to be in a good way.
A long ball into the Japanese box is flapped at by the keeper Kawashima.
Slightly odd decision to take Matsui off given that he's one of Japan's liveliest players, but he was on a yellow.
Okazaki for Matsui (Japan)
But Barrios is penalised for a shove in the back of Hasebe. How disappointing.
Valdez, who has looked bright since coming on, forces a corner.
Japan force a corner. Perhaps a set-piece is our best chance for a goal.
Comment from John Brewin at Loftus Versfeld Stadium: We have just been handed the FIFA match stats. Its only note was that there was 1 minute of additional time.
Morel puts another lovely cross in from the left and Riveros catches it on the run but his header goes straight into the arms of Kawashima. Decent chance that.
Valdez for Benitez (Paraguay)
Matsui (Japan) Matsui penalised for a late tackle on Riveros.
I'm struggling to add to that.
Comment from John Brewin at Loftus Versfeld Stadium: After 57 minutes, it's still awful. I have no more to say.
Paraguay, who dominate possession, win a corner.
Nagatomo hits a loose ball goalbound but it's deflected and goes tamely into the arms of Villar.
The stakes are so high in this game that both sides are seemingly crippled with fear. Nothing has changed since the first half really.
Morel puts in a lovely cross from the left but's just too high for Santa Cruz and the chance has gone.
Okubo remonstrates with no one in particular after being flagged for being marginally offside.
But they step it up as Ortigoza bursts into the box but the resolute Japan defence stands strong just as Ortigoza shapes to shoot.
Paraguay, playing from right to left in this second half, are playing at walking pace at the moment.
As things stand, we are on course for extra time and penalties...
Absolutely John, the first 20 minutes of this game was arguably the worst of the tournament so far.
Comment from John Brewin at Loftus Versfeld Stadium: We hope for better here, that was a first period of snatched chances and no little fear.
The second half is underway
It has been a game of few chances in Pretoria
ESPN Stats & Info: No Asian side has ever beaten a South American side in the World Cup (12 losses, two draws).
You wouldn't think these two are playing for a place in the World Cup's last 8 after the first 45 minutes. Da Silva gives his players an ear-bashing before they limp back into the dressing room.
Infact that's half time. Not much to enthuse about here. Very even game, but both sides need to step it up a few gears if they hope to win it.
We have a minute of added time at the end of the first half of a lacklustre affair.
Paraguay look short of ideas as they move forward. Too narrow and too predictable.
But this one was more easily defended as Endo's ball was too low.
Honda took a long ball down beautifully under pressure from Da Silva. Great technique. Da Silva is penalised for another push in the back and Japan have a free kick in a position identical to a few moments ago...
Lucas Barrios is sent sprawling after his shot is saved
Japan burst forward through Matsui on the right who sets up Honda, but Honda slices his shot from 20 yards wide of the post. Waste.
Paraguay have the ball but it's a sluggish build-up and Japan win possession. Japan are much slicker in their attack but they also lose the ball through Honda. Hmmm.
Paraguay get themselves out of trouble again.
Santa Cruz heads a tricky delivery out for a Japan corner.
Da Silva is penalised for a clean tackle on Honda. Poor decision but Japan have a chance to shoot here and Endo is standing over it. Slightly acute angle.
Honda finds himself in a good position on the left but his cross is cleared. If this game is to wake up, Honda is one of the few capable of doing it.
Japan can move the ball brilliantly at their best but are sitting far too deep so far. They are playing far too cautiously.
ESPN Stats & Info: Lucas Barrios' 20th-minute effort was only his first shot on target of the tournament.
Tanaka hits the resulting free kick goalbound from all of 50 yards. Infact, that was on the halfway line. What is Tanaka doing?
Japan are leaving Honda isolated in attack and need to push up the pitch. They are inviting pressure. Speaking of Honda, he is fouled.
Morel's corner was quick and right into the mix, it falls at the feet of Santa Cruz who snatches at his shot under pressure from Honda but puts it wide. Should have more of that, Santa Cruz.
Paraguay put Japan under pressure for the first time. They have a corner.
Paraguay can't seem to get hold of the ball at the moment. Struggling to pass it with any purpose.
Comment from John Brewin at Loftus Versfeld Stadium: This game has come alight. Barrios' chance was a good one and a good save by Kawashima, then Matsui crashed an effort off the bar. The Japanese have truly been the masters of the long-range effort in South Africa. The contrasting reactions tell me that the Japanese are the better-supported team here.
You wait 20 minutes for one chance then two come along at once.
Wonderful strike by Matsui! Matsui shoots from distance and his dipping effort comes off the top of the bar! Villar was beaten.
Finally some excitment! Brilliant turn by Barrios on the edge of the box gives him a sight of goal but he hits his shot straight at Kawashima's legs. Good save but should have scored there.
Keisuke Honda battles for possession
'Scrappy' would best describe the first 18 minutes here.
Japan finally commit players forward but Honda can't get his foot on it.
Paraguay keeper Villar, a veteran of 35, is seeing a lot of the ball as Japan hit numerous long balls towards Honda and Okubo. Too long thus far.
Quite a slow pace so far. Paraguay enjoying the majority of possession, but the sea of blue of shirts are making it difficult for the South Americans.
Japan win a free kick about 40 yards out. Endo, the man who scored that stunning free kick against Denmark, chips it into the box but this time Paraguay can head clear.
Santa Cruz having some influence on the right hand side today. Paraguay almost playing a 4-3-3 as they look to stretch Japan.
Very even, as you would expect, in these early stages.
Paraguay pose for the world's press prior to kick off
Paraguay get forward and Santa Cruz whips a dangerous cross in from the right. Paraguay's Benitez and Riveros have clattered each other and have gingerly got to their feet holding their heads.
ESPN Stats & Info: Lucas Barrios has scored in all three of his friendly appearances for Paraguay, but none of his three competitive ones.
Japan clear their lines.
Paraguay won a corner on the left hand side. First of the game. The referee is telling the players to stop pulling each others shirts.
Komano tries an optimistic shot from the right hand side. Saved by Villar.
Matsui chops down Riveros and that could have been a yellow card for the Japanese midfielder.
Paraguay are in their usual red and white shirts and white shorts and socks.
Japan, in all blue, are kicking from right to left and Okubo immediately gets involved firing an early shot just wide. Good start by Japan.
Japan kick us off in Pretoria...
Japan coach Takeshi Okada: "It will be a challenge for us as we try to get into the last eight for the first time, so we will be doing our absolute utmost to address this challenge."
Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino: "Well of course we came to the World Cup with dreams and we're working on it, we're still in the race. We're making a huge effort to improve our ball possession as I think this is the basis of our ambition in the World Cup."
The national anthems have played out, we a moments from kick off in Pretoria.
Comment from Soccernet editor John Brewin at Loftus Versfeld Stadium: Japanese excitement is at fever pitch, judging from a very packed press room indeed. Paraguay are making themselves heard via the medium of drums. Not a packed house for Pretoria's send off. That's a shame because this is a great place to watch football in.
Either Paraguay or Japan will create history today, as neither of them has reached the World Cup quarter-finals before. Paraguay were knocked out in the second round in 1986 (England), 1998 (France) and 2002 (Germany), while Japan's sole excursion this far ended on home soil in 2002 when they went down 1-0 to Turkey.
Comment from Kuzman Al Rashidin: Can't wait to see Endo and Honda in action.
ESPN Stats & Info: This is the second time Japan have reached the second round, in 2002 they lost to Turkey 1-0 in the World Cup they joint hosted.
ESPN Stats & Info: Paraguay have lost all three of their second round matches in World Cup history, failing to score on each occasion.
Let's start with a stat attack...
The teams are in, you can see them below.
It's Paraguay vs Japan from the Loftus Versfeld stadium coming up in less than 30 minutes...
Join us at 1400 GMT as Japan and Paraguay look to book a place in the quarter-finals.
Why not check out what our Japan blogger, Kentaro Matsuura, is saying about the game.
Coaches Takeshi Okada and Gerardo Martino.
Paulo Da Silva
Claudio Morel Rodríguez
Nelson Haedo Valdez
Roque Santa Cruz
Nelson Haedo Valdez
Julio César Cáceres
Marcus Tulio Tanaka