World Cup 2010 - Santa Cruz plays ninety minutes as Paraguay close to qualification

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 20: Cristian Riveros of Paraguay (L) celebrates scoring his side's second goal with team mate Roque Santa Cruz during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group F match between Slovakia and Paraguay at the Free State Stadium on June 20, 2010 in Mangaung/Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Roque Santa Cruz had the rare feeling of a full ninety minutes yesterday as Paraguay moved close to qualification with a comfortable 2-0 victory of Vladimir Weiss's Slovakia.

Santa Cruz - beset with injuries during 2009/10 - looked lively for the majority of the game before clearly tiring towards the end, and despite not getting on the scoresheet turned in a performance that evidenced the qualities that Mark Hughes so clearly coveted.

The victory means just a point in their final game against New Zealand will be enough to seal qualification, and even a defeat may be good enough depending on the result from the Italy v Slovakia fixture.

Whilst Vladimir Weiss impressed at times during Slovakia's opening game, he was less so here. Operating predominantly on the right hand side, he occasionally switched flanks to the left but found little joy against either full back and at times appeared to attempting to force things a little too much.

The final set of fixtures in the group are on Thursday, and whilst Paraguay have to be favourites the games are set up in such a fashion that all sides still have a chance of qualification and the top two positions will likely change a number of times throughout the ninety minutes.

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