World Cup: Germany through to last eight

Germany midfielder Marco Bode admitted his he and his team-mates had been "lucky" to edge past Paraguay with a 1-0 score into the last eight of the World Cup.

Perhaps the Bangsa towers outside the Jeju World Cup Stadium, built to guard the local population against misfortune, transferred their powers to Rudi Voller's side, who held on after Oliver Neuville cracked home a half volley from Bernd Schneider's right-wing cross two minutes from the end of normal time.

"We were happy to score such a late goal, although I think it was a bit lucky," Bode confessed.

"We tried to attack in the second half without taking too many risks, so we were a little bit lucky although the goal was a result of our improvement in the second half.

"There are things to improve on for the quarter-finals, but now we're through our confidence will improve so we're optimistic for the next game."

Neuville's first goal of the tournament settled what was a largely disappointing second-round match.

It also rescued Germany after Paraguay had threatened another upset in this World Cup of shocks.

Oliver Kahn saved a rasping free-kick from Francisco Arce and two drives from substitute Jorge Campos, who came on for Bayern Munich striker Roque Santa Cruz who injured his groin in the first half.

Germany also had a let-off before half-time when the unmarked Celso Ayala volleyed wide from 12 yards out.

Rudi Voller was not as honest as Bode and he claimed Germany deserved to win because they played much better after the interval.

"In the first half it was not really a football match," he said. "We were just shooting the ball all over the place.

"In the first half it was not a good game, but we had a change at half-time and we started to press Paraguay more.

"In the end it was a deserved victory after the attack and goal of Oliver Neuville."

Germany will now play the winners of Mexico's last-16 match against the United States and Bode would prefer to play America.

"I think Mexico are a bit more dangerous than the United States," he said.

"But any team that qualifies for the quarter-finals will be a good team.

"The United States have shown in this World Cup that they are a good team and if they did make it to the quarter-finals their confidence would grow.

"But having said that, I would still prefer to play the United States."

For Paraguay it meant yet more disappointment at this stage of the World Cup and they have still to reach the quarter-finals - or even score in the second round - in three attempts.

To complete their woe, Roberto Acuna was sent off in stoppage time for elbowing Michael Ballack after the German star had fouled him.

However coach Cesare Maldini, who is now leaving to become a scout at AC Milan, was not too despondent.

"It was a very even game until the very end," he said.

"But I'm happy that we got as far as the second round and I'm pleased to have worked with such a professional and good team."

The result meant it was a very happy birthday for Kahn, who is 33 today, and Neuville said: "I am very happy to score the winning goal in the World Cup on my first start in the tournament.

"It was a good birthday present for Oliver."

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