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Friday, 7 June, 2002, 12:04 GMT 13:04 UK
Maldini still hopeful
Spain's Nadal tangles with Diego Gavilan of Paraguay
Spain's Nadal tangles with Diego Gavilan of Paraguay
Paraguay coach Cesare Maldini was still confident that his side could reach the second round despite their 3-1 defeat to Spain.

"We can still qualify - if we beat Slovenia then there's still a good chance we can go through to the next phase," he said.

Maldini said that Group B was very strong but conceded that Spain were "the best team in it" and that to lose to them was no disgrace.

"This was a group of very smart teams with very smart players."

The Italian-born coach added that he now believes that Spain are now one of the favourites to win the World Cup.

"They are a very skilful, very experienced group of players and with that quality they have the chance to go very far in this competition," he said.

"Of course I knew all about them and that they have players such as Raul, Morientes and Hierro, who have just won the Champions League with Real Madrid, but all the same they looked very strong."

Maldini refused to criticise his eccentric goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert, who appeared to be at fault for Spain's second goal.

"Mistakes happen to all players. It's normal," he said.


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SPAIN V PARAGUAY
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Full coverage:
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 SQUAD PROFILES
GROUP B
  P GD PTS
SPAIN 3 +5 9
PARAGUAY 3 0 4
SOUTH AFRICA 3 0 4
SLOVENIA 3 -5 0




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