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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Paraguay team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Paraguay ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group B):

  • v England - 10 June, 1400 BST, Frankfurt
  • v Sweden - 15 June, 2000 BST, Berlin
  • v Trinidad & Tobago - 20 June, 2000 BST, Kaiserslautern

    How did they get to Germany: Made sure of the fourth slot in South America with a round to spare. Were early leaders in qualification, but suffered a dreadful 2004 as their team grew old together but the addition of some new faces in 2005 helped them over the line.

    Qualifying star: Carlos Paredes, who plays for Reggina in Italy, was an all-round dynamo in midfield. An aggressive tackler, he passes well, has the lung power to break into the box and finishes well on the ground and in the air.

    Manager: Anibal "Mano" Ruiz, a veteran Uruguayan who both as a player and coach has led a gypsy existence, working all over Latin America. He has a long association with Paraguayan football and took over straight after the 2002 World Cup.

    Carlos Gamarra

    Captain: Carlos Gamarra, veteran centre-back who recently passed his century of caps. A defender of such class that he went through all four of his country's games in the 1998 World Cup in France without committing a single foul.

    World Cup pedigree: This will be their seventh World Cup, and it's the first time they have qualified for three in a row. They made the second round the last three times, but have never gone any further.

    World Cup high: A heroic, Paraguayan-style defeat - their 1-0 loss to the hosts in the second round of France 98. Supremely calm under fire, their watertight defence came just six minutes away from taking the eventual champions to a penalty shoot-out they thought they were going to win.

    World Cup low: Their European debut against the same opponents 40 years earlier. France's Juste Fontaine got off to a flying start on his way to scoring the most goals in a single World Cup when he notched a hat-trick in a 7-3 win.

    World Cup legend: The larger-than-life Jose Luis Chilavert failed in his attempt to become the first keeper to score in a World Cup, but he was on the top of his game commanding his defence in 1998. Clearly past his best four years later, but his strength of personality will be missed in Germany.

    Roque Santa Cruz

    Present star man: Roque Santa Cruz was leading his country's attack at the age of 17. Frequent injuries have interrupted his career but he seems to be winning his recovery from his latest breakdown in time for Germany. When fully fit he gives the team a threat in the air and pace and skill on the ground.

    Strengths: Resilient team spirit and a blend between veterans and a new generation of talent which has been given its chance in recent months. There will be plenty of aerial strength in the opponent's penalty area.

    Weaknesses: The defence is not quite the force it was. Gamarra will be 35 in Germany and he lacks a commanding stopper alongside him or a keeper who takes charge in the way that Chilavert used to.

    Did you know? In addition to Spanish, the Paraguayans also speak their native language, Guarani, which they frequently use on the field in south America to confuse their opponents.

    World ranking: 33

    Odds: 200/1

    Local view: "They are going to the World Cup with a team that is potentially better than in 1998 and 2002. In attack there is real strength in depth and they should create more chances this time. There's a genuine chance they can make it past the second round for the first time ever." Gabreil Cazenave, ABC Color.

    Our verdict: They have more firepower than recent Paraguayan sides but the defence is no longer solid enough to keep them in the game even when they are being outclassed. Another second round appearance is a possibility, but anything beyond would be a bonus.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.


    Pick your Paraguay XI
    18 May 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: Paraguay
    02 Nov 05 |  Country profiles


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