Goals were in short supply, but there was still plenty of intrigue as the Round of 16 concluded with tense, dramatic victories for Paraguay and Spain. FIFA.com reflects on the day's statistical sub-plots.
appearances as Spain captain was the new record set by Iker Casillas this evening. By leading out the European champions in Cape Town, the Real Madrid No1 surpassed the benchmark set by another goalkeeping great, Andoni Zubizarreta.
nations were represented at the first-ever FIFA World Cup™ in 1930 and, of these inaugural participants, only Bolivia have still to reach the competition's quarter-finals. Paraguay left their South American neighbours in isolation by advancing to the last eight for the first time this afternoon.
of the eight Round of 16 matches have witnessed the group winners prevail, an all-time high. Group D runners-up Ghana were the exception to the rule with their extra-time win over USA.
successive penalty shoot-outs at the FIFA World Cup have now been won by the team taking the first kick. Paraguay’s victory over Japan continued a run that stretches all the way back to Korea/Japan 2002, when Spain – by beating Republic of Ireland – became the last team to step up second and emerge triumphant. Paraguay’s 5-3 victory was their first shoot-out win at a major tournament after they finished on the losing side to both Colombia and Uruguay at the Copa America in 1995 and 1999 respectively. Today's was also the first of 21 FIFA World Cup shoot-outs not to involve a European team.
hours and 27 minutes of FIFA World Cup football have now passed since Paraguay's goal was last breached after they kept Japan at bay throughout 120 forgettable minutes. In stretching this impressive defensive sequence, Los Guaraníes surpassed their previous record of 209 minutes without conceding. The Paraguayans, who have now failed to score in all four of their Round of 16 matches, also became the first team to play out two straight goalless draws at the FIFA World Cup since they themselves endured successive stalemates at France 1998. Yet perhaps we should have seen this scoreline coming, with Paraguay's last two encounters agains Japan – at the Kirin Cup in 2003 and 2008 – having not produced a single goal.
matches for Japan at South Africa 2010 witnessed the Blue Samurai start with exactly the same starting line-up. In the history of this competition, seven teams have fielded the same XI in four successive games, but only one – Italy at Argentina 1978 – did so in their opening four fixtures. Italy share the record for consistency of selection, having started with the same players in their last five matches in 1970 – just as the Netherlands would do four years later.
goals in three FIFA World Cup matches have enabled David Villa to equal a Spanish record set six decades ago. La Roja legend Zarra, who averaged a goal every international appearance, was the first Spaniard to score in three straight matches when he achieved the feat at Brazil 1950. Villa's goal was also the 200th scored at the FIFA World Cup by a player from La Liga, although the Spanish top flight still trails Serie A and the Bundesliga in this respect. Furthermore, with seven goals spread over Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010, the Barcelona new boy has overtaken Miroslav Klose as the leading scorer at the last two FIFA World Cups combined.