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David Villa

And then there were eight. The first round of the knockout stage of the World Cup is completed, and thanks to David Villa’s second half goal — courtesy of some fantastic passing in close quarters — Portugal will not be participating in the 2010 World Cup any longer. So long, Cristiano. Sorry there were no nifty eye-winks for you to enjoy this time out.

For what it’s worth, Villa’s finish also deserves a wink, if, for nothing else, just how sublime the passes that freed him to score were. Villa’s sticktoitiveness should also get a great deal of credit, because his first shot attempt was deflected nicely by Eduardo, the Portuguese goalkeeper. The second attempt? Not so much:

Next up for Spain is Paraguay, who beat Japan after winning their penalty shoot-out. If Spain continues their advancement towards the final and beats Paraguay, the winner of the Argentina/Germany game awaits.

The idea of that game, alone, is enough for me to root for Spain over the Paraguayans. On the other hand, however, if the Larissa-Riquelme-will-run-naked rumor is true, perhaps I should change allegiances.