Preview: Paraguay had good showing in the last two Cups, advancing to the second round
each time. Advancement in 2006 will likely depend on their ability to
outplay either England
or Sweden, two very strong sides. The team must
also forge a new identity as former goalkeeper, and the face of Paraguayan
football Jose Luis Chilavert is retired now.
Much of the story for this year's Paraguay squad is it's combination of youth
and experience. "This is the future of our football," says coach
Anibal Ruiz, "More than 50 percent of this squad are young enough to play
at another three World Cups." 18 year old Jose Montiel will join
Bayern Munich teammates Julio dos Santos and Roque Santa Cruz, as well as Werder
Bremen forward Nelson Haedo Valdez.
This youth movement hasn't stopped Ruiz from including veterans Roberto Acuna
and Jose Cardozo, adding that, "You don't play football with your age or
identity card." Coach Ruiz and the Paraguayan side are fully prepared
for the challenge of Group B, and are ready to play their best football.
0-0 draw against
presented Paraguay with a potential chance to sneak into second place behind
The showdown against
would determine the fate of both teams, and Paraguay came within 15 minutes of
advancement to the next round.