SEOGWIPO, South Korea (Ticker) -- Nelson Cuevas and Jorge Campos came off the bench to drag Paraguay into the second round of the World Cup.
Cuevas scored his first two international goals, including the all-important final strike with six minutes left, and Campos added the other as Paraguay rallied past Group B foe Slovenia, 3-1.
In the other match on this final day of Group B action, Spain posted a 3-2 win over South Africa. That result left Paraguay and South Africa with four points apiece and the same goal difference. But the South Americans advanced to the last 16 by virtue of scoring one more goal than Bafana Bafana during group play.
"Football is a game to suffer and our team suffered a lot," Paraguay coach Cesare Maldini said. "But we had a fight. We had difficulties especially after Carlos Paredes was sent off (in the 22nd minute). But our team is in good physical condition. We played well and had a good result."
Playing in the World Cup for the sixth time, Paraguay reached the second round for the third time in its last three appearances. The South Americans also accomplished the feat in 1986 and 1998.
Minus star midfielder Zlatko Zahovic, who was kicked off the squad after a dispute with coach Srecko Katanec, Slovenia took a 1-0 lead through Tottenham Hotspur's Milenko Acimovic.
"Tonight's match has clearly showed the possibilities for Slovenian football," Acimovic said. "I don't want to dwell on the past losses or other controversial issues (during the World Cup). Personally, it was a good match because I scored tonight's only goal for my country. I believe that Slovenia will be able to give great plays in the future."
But in the World Cup debut of this former Yugoslav republic, Slovenia lost all three of its matches.
The 22-yard-old Cuevas, who replaced Jose Carozo in the 61st minute to earn his 12th cap, hit the equalizer after being on the field for just four minutes. After coming on for Guido Alvarengo eight minutes after the interval, Campos cracked a left-footed shot to put Paraguay in front.
But Cuevas, whose dribbling skills mesmerized the Slovenian defense, cut across the top of the box, moving past a pair of defenders, and launched a blast off the underside of the crossbar and into the net to make it 3-1.
"I had some hope for this match," said Maldini, who guided Italy to the 1998 World Cup. "We can say that in the first match, we weren't lucky. We had a bad result against South Africa. But for this match, we came with some hopes that we could win and qualify for the next round."
Paraguay will face Group E winner Germany in Saturday's second-round match in Seogwipo.
Cuevas did not see a minute of action in the South Americans' opening two matches, which saw Paraguay waste a two-goal lead and settled for a tie against South Africa and a one-goal halftime advantage against Spain.
But it was Paraguay which went one-goal down before the River Plate forward galvanized his team.
Collecting the ball near the right corner flag in the 65th minute, Cuevas dribbled past one defender and cut in front of another in the box. He then beat goalkeeper Mladen Dabanovic from 15 yards out, sparking a three-goal outburst in just 19 minutes.
Cuevas scored his second just three minutes after Slovenia's Nastja Ceh was sent off, leaving the teams with 10 men apiece.
"I think we played very well," Ceh said. "The game was almost a success for Slovenia. Our experience here at the World Cup competition has been unbelievable."
Jose Luis Chilavert, the Paraguay goalkeeper who allowed Slovenia's first-half goal to be scored through his legs, expended a great deal of energy last week disparaging Spain. He claimed he was going to record a shutout against the Europeans and score twice from free kicks against his opposite number, Iker Casillas.
Chilavert was silenced after Paraguay endured a 3-1 defeat to Spain last Friday. But he returned to his vociferous ways to thank Casillas and company for their assistance.
"I hope Paraguay will be able to repay them some day and that they go to the final," said Chilavert, the team captain. "It was a difficult game because we had to play with 10 players from early in the first half. But the solidarity of our players gave us tonight's precious win."