June 30, 2010 in Sports

Villa leads Spain past Portugal

Raf Casert Associated Press

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — David Villa called it one of his best goals.

On a night when Portugal’s defense fought off attack after attack, the Spanish striker finally broke through in the 63rd minute, giving the European champs a 1-0 victory Tuesday and a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals.

Villa took Xavi Hernandez’ heel pass and struck a left-footed shot that was saved by Portuguese goalkeeper Eduardo.

He then fired the rebound with his right foot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net – his fourth goal of the tournament – sprinted to the near corner and slid on his knees to the flag, letting out a mighty yell.

“It was one of my best goals because it got us through to the next round,” Villa said.

While Villa is tied for the lead in scoring at the World Cup, it was a disappointing tournament for Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who finished the tournament with just one goal.

His best attempt Tuesday came from a free kick in the 28th minute when he launched the ball from 35 yards with such a dipping swerve that all Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas could do was block it with his body and see the ball bounce free.

Portugal went out of the tournament after conceding its first goal in four games.

Spain plays Paraguay in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

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