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Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Tuesday, 25 May 2010 12:12 UK

My First World Cup: Victor Caceres

Victor Caceres
Caceres is one of Paraguay's most versatile players

By Ben Sutherland

Paraguay star Victor Caceres has told the BBC he will draw on his memories of France '98 - his country's "best tournament" - as he prepares to take on the World Cup holders Italy in South Africa 2010.

Paraguay are the first match for the world champions in Group F, on 14 June. Both teams then have games against New Zealand and Slovakia.

And Libertad midfielder Caceres said it was Paraguay's surprise showing in France that had inspired him.

"I remember the World Cup in 1998 - and I already knew enough," Caceres told BBC Mundo.

"The truth is I never thought I'd get to play a World Cup - and now, I think, I have a good chance to participate in this tournament."


Paraguay were one of the surprise packages of the early stages of France '98.

BBC My First World Cup XI
11 players making their debut on the World Cup stage at South Africa 2010

With iconic goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert on top form, they held both Bulgaria and Spain to 0-0 draws - before thumping Nigeria 3-1 to go through to the second round.

There, they were unlucky to lose to France 1-0 in extra time, following the first ever World Cup golden goal, scored by Laurent Blanc.

Caceres described that tournament as the "most beautiful."

"I think the World Cup was very nice that year," he said.

"I watched it a lot in Paraguay, because I think that year we had one of our best tournaments."

And he added that the dream of appearing in a World Cup himself had always seemed very distant, and so he was happy just to make the final squad of 23, regardless of how much he gets to play.

"It is thanks to my sacrifices I made, and the sacrifices my parents made, that today I have the opportunity to go," he said.

"I dream of being part of a very great World Cup, where all the players play in great games. I believe nothing else but that - that is my dream.

"Being on the list of 23 is an honour, and if you happen to be on the outside, or on the bench, is also very nice because you are still part of the World Cup."

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see also
Paraguay name their 30-man squad
31 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Guide to the teams at South Africa 2010
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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