SEOGWIPO, South Korea (Ticker) -- Oliver Neuville scored with two minutes remaining to give Germany a 1-0 victory and knock Paraguay out of the World Cup.
In the first match in the round of 16, Neuville scored his fourth international goal from eight yards out, finishing a perfect cross from club teammate Bernd Schneider on the right side -- where Germany had much of its play in an otherwise lackluster contest.
"I'm satisfied and the fact that I scored the winning goal in the first World Cup match in which I started makes very happy," said Neuville, who along with Schneider were key players in Leverkusen's solid runs in the Bundesliga and the Champions League this past season.
"I think we played well in the second half. Paraguay played hard to get a 0-0 draw, but we won in the end."
In the quarterfinals Germany will face the winner of the matchup between the United States and Mexico, which will be contested Monday.
"It doesn't matter who we play, both teams had a good first round," German coach Rudi Voller said. "It doesn't make any difference who we play."
Paraguay finished the match with 10 men after Roberto Acuna was sent off in the second minute of added time following a rough tackle.
The game had a scrappy opening and was slow throughout. Germany was aggressive, but Paraguay played organized at the back and appeared to play for a draw. That would have taken the game into sudden death, followed by penalty kicks if still scoreless after two 15-minute periods.
"In the first half, it was not really a football game," Voller said. "We were shooting the ball all over, just like Paraguay did. We had a change at halftime, we started to press Paraguay and it was a deserved victory after the attack and goal of Oliver Neuville."
Germany's Michael Ballack had the first two chances inside 20 minutes. Ballack attempted a 25-yard shot which sailed over the bar after 13 minutes and followed that with a free kick that also was high.
Denis Caniza made an effort for Paraguay with a long range drive, which was wide of the right post. Francisco Arce tested goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who celebrated his 33rd birthday Saturday, with a swirling free kick. Kahn punched the danger away.
Paraguay was dealt a blow after 37 minutes when 20-year-old forward Roque Santa Cruz, who plays for German side Bayern Munich, limped off with an injury.
His replacement, Jorge Campos, finished a solo effort on a counterattack four minutes into the second part, but Kahn covered the ball on the short side.
Early in the second half, Neuville set up Schneider in the middle, but the finish was central straight to Paraguayan goalkeeper Jose Chilavert. After Germany began to dominate, Neuville drove a solid shot from outside the box which Chilavert lunged to make the save.
Chilavert attempted one of his trademark free kicks from 22 yards out, but the result was nowhere close to hitting the target. Chilavert, 36, likely played in his last World Cup.
"I am personally very proud of the Paraguayan players," Chilavert said. "Paraguay and Germany played an equal game. It was only that the luck was with the German squad today. We had missed opportunities to score, but it's like that with football."
Paraguay's Italian coach Cesare Maldini, the oldest in the World Cup at 70, announced he will step down from the team and return to Italy as a scout with AC Milan. Maldini took over the squad just months before the tournament.
"This was a typical German game," he said. "They were very strong physically, maybe not so strong technically. It was a very equally balanced game until the very end. The game was mostly played in the midfield but suddenyl there was a beautiful run on the right side and a beautiful strike from No. 7 from Germany (Neuville)."
Schneider, Ballack and Frank Baumann were issued yellow cards for Germany, which could be costly down the line.
The game was played in front of just 25,176 spectators at the new Jeju Stadium, which has a capacity of 42,256. The lower tiers were filled, but much of the upper stands were empty.