Johannesburg: Misfiring striker Fernando Torres said he was hopeful of finishing the World Cup with a goal after being substituted during Spain’s 1-0 win over Paraguay to reach the semi-finals.
The Liverpool forward again failed to make an impression and was taken off by coach Vicente Del Bosque after 56 minutes last night following his fifth scoreless appearance since knee surgery in April.
David Villa became the tournament’s leading scorer with his fifth goal as the European champions downed Paraguay 1-0 to set up an enticing semi-final with Germany in Durban on Wednesday.
“I hope I’ll score at this World Cup, I’m sure I will,” Torres said.
It has been hard going for Torres in South Africa, but he still maintains he confidence of Del Bosque despite his lean spell.
“Physically he’s fine, I should say that we took him off because the team wasn’t clicking but we’re very happy with Fernando’s work, how he’s doing and we hope he will do better in the next games,” Del Bosque said.
Del Bosque expects Spain to raise the level of their game against the red-hot Germans, who hammered Argentina 4-0 in Saturday’s earlier quarter-final in Cape Town.
“We hope to raise the quality of our game, we hope our match with Germany and the other semi-final will be good adverts for football. We hope we’ll play better and we can celebrate going to the final,” he said.
Torres is looking forward to pitting his wits and skill against Germany and breaking his tournament duck.
“Everyone says the Germans don’t have the best defence, but I disagree and they’ve also shown they have good forwards,” Torres said.
“They have good players like Klose, Podolski, who’s playing well, but it’s not about names. “It’s 50-50, it will be very close. They miss Michael Ballack but they’ve always been this good and Mesut Ozil’s replaced him.”
Torres said he was relieved Villa popped up with the winner seven minutes from time after both teams had penalties saved midway through the second half.
“I’m happy, especially at the end of the game, after the Oscar Cardozo and Xabi Alonso penalties and all the nerves, at the end when you see we’re smiling and all that tension disappears, all that’s left is joy,” he said.
“Paraguay played very well, they created chances but with that penalty they had the misfortune of facing our goalkeeper Iker Casillas. They can hold their heads up, especially Cardozo, who was broken at the end of the game, he’s got my support.”
Del Bosque was full of praise for the work of Casillas between the posts. “Casillas was extraordinary, he made two magnificent saves there and certainly played his part in our win,” he said.