Tearful Martino pulls himself together

PRETORIA - Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino was in floods of tears after his side reached the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time although he was soon trying to play down the waterworks.

A win on penalties over Japan after a dreadful 0-0 draw in the last 16 tie on Tuesday was initially too much for the Argentine.

"There's a lot of fear and tension during a match and it's difficult to go through a match like that," he told a news conference.

"Everybody knows that it's unfair to have it decided by penalties. We didn't play too well but we were looking to be decisive. So many things go through your mind so there is a reason for tears."

But, as if to reassert his authority and set a new target for his players among the emotion, Martino said the achievement meant nothing compared to other personal moments even if it was an almighty success for the small South American nation.

"We may not give the achievement its necessary importance now. We may well give it the necessary importance afterwards," he said.

"I understand this is a success but when it comes to personal success it comes down to things that are more important. We certainly know we are among the eight best teams in the world but to say this was one of my top achievements, I couldn't say that."

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