Recaps and game analysis to follow one or two hours after each match.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Group F: Paraguay

Finishing third in South American qualifying, Paraguay were always one of the leaders to make it to the finals. With a strong defense, giving up only sixteen goals (second only to Brazil's 11), Paraguay showed they could take on the world.  Being only one of two teams to beat Brazil in qualification, then going on to beat Argentina, La Albirroja will be going into this years tournament with very high expectations.

However, they do have one downside, they can't seem to score enough. At the end of qualification Paraguay had only netted 24 goals, which isn't bad, but it was only one higher than eighth placed Venezuela. The problem seems to be in the midfield where they lack a strong play maker. Currently playing a 4-4-2 formation, with the two central midfielders playing in a deeper role, there is always a big gap between the players in the middle of the field. To compensate for this, coach Gerardo Martino may opt for a more offensive 4-3-3, with one of the strikers hanging further back and acting as a quasi offensive mid.

Once the midfield manages to get the ball forward, Paraguay should have no problem scoring some goals. Although left out of the squad for a lot of the qualifiers, Roque Santa Cruz [pictured] of Manchester City appears to once again be healthy, and this quick striker can run and gun with the best of them. He may have only played in five games so far this campaign, but he already has three goals! Italy should be very cautious, as the wins against Brazil and Argentina could be foreshadowing another possible upset.

My Prediction: Second Round.

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