Gerardo Martino, Paraguay coach
We were poor in the first half, but we played better after the break. We wanted to try and win the game but without leaving ourselves exposed because, although we’d finish top with a one-goal win, a one-goal defeat would send us out of the World Cup. I’m not happy with the way we played, but I’m pleased we made it through. We’ll need to improve a fair bit if we want to keep progressing. I thought that we’d be able to find enough space up front and that they were going to cause us a few problems with aerial balls. But neither happened because my team kept the pressure on them well and didn’t give their crossers any freedom, while we didn’t offer enough movement to create goalscoring situations.
Ricki Herbert, New Zealand coach
For us it was important to try and stay in the game as long as possible. We made a more concerted effort to win the match towards the end by putting on fresher forwards, but it wasn’t enough. Despite the fact we didn’t reach the last 16, this has been a great experience for New Zealand. I feel a little disappointed but I’m very proud of what this team’s achieved. I’d never have dreamed we’d be going home unbeaten. I’m delighted with what my players have done; what we’ve achieved is really impressive. We’ve got a very bright future.
Roque Santa Cruz, Paraguay forward and Budweiser Man of the Match
You’d expect to win a match like this, but what matters is that we qualified in first place. We knew they’d get a lot of people behind the ball, that it’d be very difficult to break them down and that we’d need a lot of patience. The game got a bit monotonous because they defended so much, but I don’t think we were ever in danger of not getting at least a draw.
Justo Villar, Paraguay goalkeeper
The fact Paraguay qualified top of their group is historic. We have something to celebrate but we’re not getting carried away. We’ve taken a big step forward but there’s still some way to go. The match we really need to win is the next one. There’s a lot of excitement in the camp and we’ve got to fuel that with good results.
Tommy Smith, New Zealand defender
I think we’re a team that showed a lot of defensive quality, but it’s a shame we couldn’t score more goals. We’re a bit sad about missing out on the next round, but of course it’s been positive overall. We had some good chances today but we couldn’t put them away. I think the fact that they didn’t attack us more is down to the work we did in defence.
Shane Smeltz, New Zealand forward
We defended very well but we struggled a bit going forward, though we did nearly surprise them a couple of times. There aren’t many teams that go home after the group stage without having lost a game. We’re a bit down at the moment, but when we look back at this we’ll realise just how great our achievements have been. I think the future is bright for New Zealand football.