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Paraguay – World Cup Preview

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Paraguay have now reached four consecutive World Cup finals and in two of them they even reached the last 16 teams (’98, 02).

Coach Gerardo Martino took over in 2007 and is doing great things with Paraguay. He has good knowledge of the country and it’s clubs having managed in South America for most of his career. In getting to the finals Paraguay had to contend with their perhaps more famous South American cousins. They coped well, beating Brazil 2-0 and defeating Argentina 1-0 in their final fixture to take third spot in the CONMEBOL and a place at the tournament.

The manager has a proven squad to choose from, in attack he has Roque Santa Cruz, Oscar Cardozo, Nelson Valdez and newcomer Lucas Barrios to arrange into a goal scoring system. Cruz is potentially the most gifted but injury worries consistently plague his career, if he can keep fit he will be an asset.

Cardoza too is on top form at Benfica scoring 56 goals in 84 but has struggled at international level. The Dortmund pair of Barrios and Valdez may end up battling for a place.

So up front Paraguay are more or less set, Gerardo Martino’s experimentation with the formation however could mean that Paraguay end up either very versatile or incredibly confused. Across the defence experience seems to be the way to go as Da Silva, Julio Ceser Caceres and Dario Veron are all likely to be there or thereabouts.

Linking up the the play in the centre of the park Paraguay will be relying on relative unknowns Barreto, Ortigoza and Sunderland’s Carlos Riveros.

Expectations then are not sky high but it won’t be too shocking if Paraguay make it to the knock-out stages, though Slovakia may give them a run for their money. Italy are first up however and Paraguay will have to be wide awake to take anything from them.