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FIFA World Cup 2010
Paraguayan Football Association
Round 2, 1986, 1998, 2002
Winners, 1953 and 1979
In its three World Cups, the Paraguayan national team has failed to get beyond the second round. Moreover, in his last two participations, in France 1998 and in Korea-Japan 2002, the Paraguay squad has lost its matches in the second round against teams that had qualified to the final. Perhaps this year, Paraguay could surprise and overcome the second round. And they have a good antecedent since this qualification stage has been the best, and it seems that the team has established good chemistry with its Argentine coach Gerardo Martino.
The Guaraní squad will face a tough group in the group stages at this 2010 South Africa World Cup. They will faces nothing more nor less than the defending champion, Italy and also against Slovakia and New Zealand. The Paraguayan squad is characterized by their strong and effective defense. However, unlike the previous participations, the team counts now with high level strikers, and could give a major advantage when considering its tactical schemes.
Perhaps the figure that will miss the most in this final phase of the World Cup will be the striker Salvador Cabañas, who was leading the scoring table in the Mexican football, but in a dispute he was injured with a shot in his head. The player is just recovering, and now, although his life is not in danger, he is still fighting to reach a complete recovery.
The Guaraní squad had a good performance in the first rounds of the qualifyings. The team maintained its unbeaten record until they faced the Brazil team, who beat them at home with a 2-0 score. Eventually, the Paraguay national team achieved a record of 10 victories, three draws and five defeats. The team managed to secure their place in South Africa 2010 after beating the Argentina's national team 1-0, in an important game in the capital of Asuncion. As a local team they managed to attain seven victories.
The absence of Cabañas undoubtedly will be felt greatly in the Paraguayan offense. However, the Guaraní team have a lot of talent to counteract that in South Africa. On offense it remains the talented and faster Roque Santa Cruz. While absent from several qualifying matches, the Santa Cruz, the best striker of the team, is coming to South Africa ready to prove he can be the key to changing the paradigm Paraguay has had in the previous World Cup events. Oscar Cardoso and Nelson Haedo Valdez have added 11 goals between the two during the knockout stage and seek to maintain their good pace in the World Cup.
The team was led by Argentine Gerardo Martino since 2006. As a player, Martino was a good midfielder back in the nineties. He began his career as a coach with some smaller teams in the Argentine football. Then, he made a major step and became the head coach of couple of teams in Paraguay. In there, he was the coach of Libertad Club, the team which he has achieved its greatest successes.
But perhaps this is the best opportunity to demonstrate his talent in front of a team that is coming motivated and with the desire to clean the bad impression they left in Germany 2006, where they failed to qualify to the second round.