Paraguay coach Cesare Maldini came in for some harsh criticism after his side let
slip a two-goal lead against South Africa.
The fact that Paraguay spent the last half hour
pinned back inside their own half has been seen as some as an adoption of the
defensive methods for which Maldini and Italian football are famous.
The question now is whether Maldini will respond by picking Jose Cardoso for the
next game against Spain.
The 31-year-old Cardoso is a bustling striker who has improved with the passing of
He is an infinitely better player than he was four years ago, when he
was part of Paraguay's frankly feeble France 98 attack.
It seems that years in Mexican football have done wonders for his physical
He has become an aggressive striker whose success has given
him considerable confidence in his own ability.
Cardoso led the Paraguay
attack with some distinction in qualification.
With six goals he was the side's top scorer, and there was general surprise
when he was left on the bench for the game against South Africa.
for an explanation afterwards, Maldini would go no further than saying that
Cardoso "did not figure in our plans for this game."
Ageing Spanish defence
It is easy to see how the side could benefit from his inclusion in the game
plan for the next game.
Roque Santa Cruz looked in devastating form in
the first half of the game against South Africa, but he was left isolated in the second.
swaggering presence could help Paraguay's "Baby Goal" stay in the game.
physical approach could divert the attention of opposing defenders and
create more space for Santa Cruz.
The pair formed a fine partnership in
Now could be the time to bring them back together. But Maldini may well be worried by the opposition.
Paraguay face a Spain
side who would appear to be the best team in Group B.