Paraguay Team Guide 2006
World Ranking: 30
Manager: Anibal Ruiz
Captain: Carlos Gamarra
Star Man: Roque Santa Cruz (Pictured) has been leading the countries attack from the age of 17. He has recently been suffering from a long term injury, however, when fit he provides the team with an aerial threat, great pace and some dazzling skill on the ground.
Other Players to Watch:
Jose Cardozo, Nelson Haedo Valdez
Route to the Finals:
Paraguay booked their place the fourth spot in South America with a round left. They took an early lead in qualification but had a poor 2004. In 2005 they introduced a few fresh players to the team which helped them produce the goods to reach the finals. The highlight of their qualification was a victory over Argentina.
World Cup History:
The World Cup 2006 will be their third World Cup in a row and their seventh overall. They have reached the second round the last three times in the World Cup but have never been further.
1930, 1950, 1958 - First Round
1986, 1998, 2002 - Second Round
Best World Cup:
Their best World Cup came in 1998 when they reached the second round and were matched with France (the eventual winners). They came within 6 minutes of taking the eventual champions to a penalty shoot out but lost to a Golden Goal.
Strengths and Weaknesses:
They have a strong team spirit which has a mix of experience and a blend of youth. They have a good aerial strength when attacking. Their defence isn't what it used to be, Gamarra will be 36 years of age when in the World Cup and is without a strong partner in defence and lacks a commanding Keeper.
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Paraguay v England (10 June);
KO 15:00; Frankfurt
Paraguay v Sweden (15 June);
KO 21:00; Berlin
Paraguay v Trinidad & Tobago (20 June);
KO 21:00 ; Kaiserslautern