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World Cup: South Africa, Paraquay Play to Draw - 2002-06-02

At football's World Cup, the four teams in Group B played their opening matches Sunday in South Korea. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer is in Seoul and has the results.

A 90th minute penalty kick by Quinton Fortune gave South Africa a 2-2 draw against Paraguay in Busan.

Paraguay had held a 2-0 lead in the game on a 39th minute header by Roque Santa Cruz off a free kick, and a well-placed free kick by Francisco Arce in the 55th minute. But an own goal by Paraguay's Estanislao Struway put South Africa on the scoreboard in the 63rd minute. The late penalty was called against Paraguayan goalie Ricardo Tavarelli, who is filling in while regular keeper Jose Luis Chilavert finishes serving a four-match suspension for spitting on a Brazilian opponent in the World Cup qualifiers.

Tavarelli was whistled after he dove to try to save a shot, and his outstretched arm tripped South African Sibusio Zuma. Fortune connected from the penalty spot, and the game ended moments later at 2-2.

South African coach Jomo Sono said he was content with the draw. "I am happy we didn't lose, you can imagine," he said. "It would have done damage to our confidence. Now the confidence is up. We've just played our first game in the tournament, and we've played Paraguay to a draw, and it was especially good coming from 2-0 to 2-2."

In the late Group B game in Gwangju, Spain beat World Cup newcomer Slovenia, 3-1. A notoriously slow tournament starter, Spain controlled the momentum in the first half and Raul finally got his team on the scoreboard just before the intermission, gathering a loose ball and firing it between a defender's legs and past the Slovenia goalie. Juan Carlos Valeron made it 2-0 Spain in the 74th minute, finishing a nice crossing pass.

The Slovenians got one goal back in the 82nd minute as Sebastian Cimirotic scored on a well-executed give-and-go pass. Spain's final goal came in the 87th minute on a penalty kick from Fernando Hierro after Fernando Morientes was brought down at the side edge of the penalty area. So the final was Spain three and Slovenia one.

Spain will next play Paraguay on Friday, and Slovenia will face South Africa next Saturday.