The drawing of lots has seen Greece advance to the last 16 as Group D winners after a 1-1 draw with Paraguay took both teams through with identical records. Both finished the section with the same number of points, goals for and goals against, this after the ten-man South Americans came from behind to claim a hard-earned share of the spoils.
With news of Mali’s problems in Gaziantep filtering through, the need for either side to chase a win was removed and this was reflected in a rather drab first half. Greece were the more adventurous of the two sides and created the game’s first couple of half-chances, both of which saw Diego Morel save comfortably from Andreas Bouchalakis.
Paraguay were already under pressure when they suffered a major blow on 24 minutes with the ordering off of their captain, Gustavo Gomez, who picked up his second yellow card for a rash challenge on Dimitrios Diamantakos. However, Greece - while dominating possession and territory - struggled to make their numerical advantage count, with chances few and far between.
Eventually, it took a free-kick to break the deadlock, with Dimitrios Diamantakos heading in with 22 minutes remaining after beating Morel to an inviting inswinging free-kick from Konstantinos Stafylidis. Paraguay had offered little prior to this point but going behind seemed to inspire them, and within five minutes they were level.
A tremendous goal it was too, with substitute Brian Montenegro finding the net with an acrobatic overhead kick after Junior Alonso’s long throw-in had been flicked on by Miller Mareco. That was to be as good as it would get, with Spyridon Fourlanos spurning the best of the opportunities to re-establish Greece’s advantage with a wayward close-range header.