Spain coach Vicente del Bosque saluted his players for making history tonight, but admitted they scraped into the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ semi-finals by the skin of their teeth. David Villa's late goal - after both sides had missed penalties - secured victory over a brave Paraguay team who had matched the European champions all the way.
La Roja are in the semi-finals for the first-ever time and not since 1950, when they were part of a four-team final group, have they had such an opportunity to go all the way. Del Bosque admitted that Spain's passing game had been disrupted by the South Americans, but he remains confident of overcoming Germany on Wednesday.
"It has been a very tough, very uncomfortable match but this is what we expected - they didn't let us play our game," he said. "In my time a Spanish side never felt so uncomfortable or passed the ball so inaccurately.
"But now it's an absolutely marvellous moment for Spanish football and our game is at the very top. We didn't play a terribly good match today, but we are happy and we know we have the necessary resources to face any rivals including Germany.
"It's a great moment for Spanish football. We beat Germany in the final of the EURO, but they are among the elite teams and I think that speaks volumes for European football."
Del Bosque also paid tribute to goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Villa, who is now South Africa 2010's five-goal top scorer and, on 43 for the national team, just one behind all-time leading marksman Raul.
"Casillas has been extraordinary and he made two magnificent stops tonight," said the Spain coach. "Villa is at the top of his form and was right there again - perhaps we could have scored earlier but Villa had the hunger."
Martino proud in defeat
Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino said he was proud of his players. "The dressing room is as it should be after a tremendous effort, we have played with all our heart and lost the match at the very end," he said.
"We played with Spain on an equal footing but we were not lucky, it was not our night. I feel very proud and I have congratulated my men in the dressing room, and I know everyone in the country feels very proud of the team who has represented them.
I don't feel happy or satisfied - we were trying to make history. Spain are in the semi-finals but we could have been there too."