After tense stalemate, la Albirroja ultimately won through to the quarter-finals...
Villar – 7 - Was wholly untested over the course of 90 minutes. Did punch away one dangerous cross but didn’t have anything else of note to cope with. Sharp from his line to clear a couple of weak back passes.
Bonet – 7 - Got forward semi-regularly from his role at right-back and tended to do so in a fairly effective manner. Could have done with supplying more directly into the box. Stood up well to the challenge of the Japanese attack.
Da Silva – 7 - An unfortunate slip just before the half-time interval nearly let Honda — whom he otherwise policed brilliantly — to strike the opening goal. Was a little clumsy at times around the edge of the box, giving away needless free kicks that could easily have been more tellingly punished.
Alcaraz – 7.5 - Stout in the centre of the Paraguayan rearguard, Alcaraz did well to dominate the heart of the defence. Had problems with the pace of Honda at times, but on the whole he coped well.
R. Morel – 7 - The left-back has really impressed at times during this competition but seemed to be caught up in the occasion just a little in the early stages of the game. Delivered poorly too often from set pieces and allowed Matsui to sprint down his flank on a couple of occasions. Quality from set played improved after the break.
Ortigoza – 6.5 - At least tried to break down the Japanese defence by setting a tempo to the game but lacked the technical ability to match his mind. Too often passes went astray, and the particularly bouncy nature of the Jabulani seemed to cause him particular problems. Made a couple of key defensive blocks.
Vera – 6 - A star performer in the heart of the Paraguayan midfield for much of the World Cup to date, the 31-year-old struggled to live up to his billing in this encounter. Didn’t push forward with the purpose that has previously been seen of him and gave the ball away too readily.
Riveros – 7 - Was the player in the three-man midfield who looked the most likely player to support the forward and really trouble the Japanese by making late runs into the box. A clever pass created a great chance for Barrios in the first half and a firm second half header might have brought the illusive goal.
Santa Cruz – 6.5 - Stuck out on the right side of the attacking unit, the Manchester City forward did reasonably well in the first half. Provided a couple of decent balls into the box, was strong in his hold-up play and even helped his side out effectively from defensive set plays. Missed a good chance when the ball dropped to him from a corner.
Barrios – 7 - Probably the most positive of the Paraguayans in the early stages of the match, the Borussia Dortmund player simply didn’t get the supply that his hard work deserved. Not nearly so lively after the break.
Benitez – 6 - Played the left side of the offensive three and struggled to make a great impression. Got into a couple of good positions but dallied a little when in possession of the ball, costing his side potentially excellent openings. Ultimately withdrawn.
Valdez – 7 – Offered energy off the bench and took a good penalty.
Barreto – 6.5 – Looked bright after arriving on the field late in normal time.
Cardozo – 6.5 – Struck the decisive penalty kick.
The last Samurai | Cardozo's clinching strike ended hopes of Okado's side
Kawashima – 7.5 - Made a fine one-on-one block to thwart Barrios when the Argentina-born player was clean through. Also enjoyed several terrific blocks in the early stages of extra-time. Continues to look uncertain under the high ball, taking out Tulio from a relatively routine free kick into the box. No chance with any of the penalties.
Komano – 7 - Showed a positive side to his game in the early stages of the match when he broke forward to smack a low shot wide. Spent much of his time in a defensive capacity, where he was disciplined and solid. Missed the key penalty kick.
Nakazawa – 7.5 - At times the tenacity and willingness of Barrios seemed like it would be too much for the centre-back. Had the ball pinched from his toes as it was about to go out of play and was also spun on the edge of the box. Steadied himself superbly and looked far stronger after these aberrations.
Tulio – 7.5 - In the heart of the Japan defence, Tulio was imperious in the air. Made several key clearances and bravely continued after being clattered by Kawashima. Very much the lynchpin of this Japanese outfit.
Nagatomo – 7 - Started the second period in a very positive manner, making a terrific block from a dangerous Paraguayan shot. Also offered his support in an attacking capacity, making a fine burst down the left to deliver a wicked cross that caused the South Americans real problems.
Abe – 7.5 - Something of the defensive heartbeat of the team. It is the holding midfielder that really anchors the central four players and protects the rearguard, and he did both jobs superbly, making several snappy challenges to frustrate the Paraguayans. Offered offensive creativity after the break.
Hasebe – 6.5 - The captain of the side covered holes in his defensive unit in an impressive fashion but lacked the foresight when attacking to significantly concern the South Americans.
Matsui – 7 - The best Japanese player on the field in an offensive sense during the first half. The former Saint-Etienne midfielder showed good willingness to push on from the midfield to attack, sending a fine first half shot against the crossbar. Withdrawn after a slower start to the second half.
Endo – 6.5 - Nearly provided his side with a great chance in the first half when he stole the ball from Ortigoza’s feet, but in general he was happy to sit in a deeper role. Showed intelligence to break forward when the time was right.
Okubo – 6 - Worked immensely hard down the left hand flank but offered very little over the course of the game aside from his industry. Gave the ball away with nearly half his passes, which helps to explain why attacks were so difficult to mount,
Honda – 6.5 - Enjoying a burgeoning reputation, and though this was not his best game for the Samurai Blue by any means, he didn’t do badly by any means. Slashed a shot wide from the edge of the box that he may feel he should have converted. Well policed and only had a limited influence.
Okazaki – 6.5 – A clever late flick created a goal scoring chance that ultimately came to naught.
K. Nakamura – 7 – Really added another dimension to the Japanese attack after arriving on the field.
Tamada – n/a – Given only the latter part of extra-time.