World Cup: Paraguay Preview
Paraguay finished third in the South American World Cup qualification and their defense is solid and they are one of the best teams in the tournament in taking advantage of opponents’ mistakes.
Paraguay is in Group F along with defending World Cup champion Italy, Slovakia, and New Zealand.
Bovada has Paraguay at +5000 to win the World Cup and at +350 to win Group E.
Paraguay is making their fourth straight World Cup appearance and they are not in one of the toughest groups even though 2006 champion Italy will be a major test for them.
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Beating Italy is not likely, but they should beat New Zealand, so their big match may be against Slovakia, as it is likely the winner of that match will come in second in Group F and progress to the playoffs.
Paraguay has made it out of their group in three of the last four World Cups.
Defense is the main strength of Paraguay only allowed 16 goals in 18 World Cup qualification matches. They are a good passing squad that is very tough to score on and they have good goalie play. They lack many big names on defense, but they play great as a team. Their offense is solid led by the strikers of Salvador Cabanas and Nelson Haedo Valdez of Borussia Dortmund. Cristian Riveros is the anchor of the midfield and will have to set up Cabanas and Valdez for some goals.
The main weakness of Paraguay is their lack of control with the ball. They tend to let the other team control the possession of the game and wait for them to make a mistake. They are great at counter attacking and scoring when opponents give them a chance, but when they face elite teams, such as Italy, these chances will be few and far between.
Head coach Gerardo Martino has instilled a solid work ethic in the Paraguay squad and he is all about strategy and tactics. He usually uses a 4-4-2 formation, but also uses a 4-3-3 formation when they need more offense.
Paraguay’s first group match is against Italy and if they can win or even play to a draw they will be in good shape. However, as stated before, their big match may be against Slovakia.
Paraguay World Cup Schedule
6/14/2010 Italy vs. Paraguay
6/20/2010 Slovakia vs. Paraguay
6/24/2010 Paraguay vs. New Zealand