In the Paraguay preview, we look ahead to this summer’s competition, predicting how Paraguay will finish as well as sharing the schedule of upcoming games and looking at their roster and players to watch out for.
Manager: Ramon Diaz
Captain: Paulo da Silva
Paraguay preview: Squad:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Diego Barreto (Olimpia, PAR), Antony Silva (Cerro Porteño, PAR), Justo Villar (Colo-Colo, CHI)
DEFENDERS (6): Iván Piris (Udinese, ITA), Fabián Balbuena (Corinthians, BRA), Paulo Da Silva (Toluca, MEX), Gustavo Gómez (Lanús, ARG), Miguel Samudio (Club América, MEX), Bruno Valdez (Cerro Porteño, PAR)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Víctor Ayala (Lanús, ARG), Celso Ortiz (AZ Alkmaar, NED), Robert Piris Da Motta (Olimpia, PAR), Blas Riveros (Olimpia, PAR), Rodrigo Rojas (Cerro Porteño, PAR), Oscar Romero (Rácing Club, ARG)
FORWARDS (8): Miguel Almirón (Lanús, ARG), Edgar Benítez (Querétaro, MEX), Jorge Benítez (Cruz Azul, MEX), Derlis González (Dynamo Kiev, UKR), Juan Iturbe (Bournemouth, ENG), Darío Lezcano (Ingolstadt, GER), Antonio Sanabria (Sporting de Gijón, ESP), Nelson Valdez (Seattle Sounders FC, USA)
Paraguay preview: Overview:
In what is shaping up to be a wide open Group A, Paraguay will certainly think they have a fair chance of making it into the knockout stages. Although the squad named by Diaz contains a few surprises.
Not only has the manager sought to rely on a core of players that are based in the Americas—only five players will make the trip from the Europe—some familiar faces will be absent. Indeed, veteran forward Lucas Barrios has been left off the final 23-man list.
Even without the rangy target man, there’s a lot of quality in attacking areas. Roque Santa Cruz will likely provide a familiar focal point, although flanking him will be Juan Iturbe—who opted to play for Los Guaranies instead of Argentina in March—and Derlis Gonzalez, two players who can be scintillating with the ball at their feet.
While the strength of this team will come in attacking from the wide positions and getting crosses into the box, there are a few areas of concern. Paraguay still rely on 36-year-old Da Silva to hold the defence together, while Diaz has picked a squad light on numbers and quality in the midfield positions. It means organisation off the ball and work-rate will be vital.
Typically, that’s what you get from Paraguay teams. In last summer’s Copa a steely cohesion saw this team make it to the semi-finals, eliminating Brazil along the way. While they ran into an Argentina team at their best in the last four, losing 6-1, there have been some positive results in World Cup qualifying, most notably draws against both the Selecao and the Albiceleste.
So often Paraguay find a way to grind through matches, having finished fourth and second at the last two Copa Americas. It’ll be fascinating to see how their style matches up against the likes of Costa Rica and the United States, and you can bet Diaz will see frailties in all three opponents his team are capable of exploiting.
Paraguay preview: Group Fixtures:
Saturday, June 4
Tuesday, June 7
Saturday, June 11
Paraguay preview: Key Player:
Juan Iturbe – That Iturbe has opted to represent Paraguay is a major boost for the country’s football team, as the winger possesses the natural ability to change the course of games.
While born in Argentina, the 22-year-old spent much of his early life in Paraguay, honing his skills in the country’s youth academies. Having represented both nations at youth level, he finally opted to play for Los Guaranies’ senior side earlier this year, seven years on from when he made his debut as a 16-year-old in a friendly.
It’s been a miserable 2015-16 for Iturbe, who was loaned out to Bournemouth from Roma earlier in the season; he’s struggled for minutes with the South coast club too, making just two substitute appearances in the Premier League. Still, his dribbling ability, pace and penchant for the spectacular should see him form a key part of Paraguay’s plans this summer.
Paraguay preview: Verdict:
Group Stage Elimination – While there are vulnerabilities to go after in the United States, Colombia and Costa Rica teams, Paraguay don’t seem as well equipped as usual to capitalise on them. They’ve looked very susceptible to dynamic attacks in recent matches and will struggle to keep clean sheets in what is surely the most evenly-matched group in the competition.
Paraguay home jersey
Paraguay have won two South American championships, in 1953 and 1979, and reached the knockout stage in 2015. Wear the white and red and cheer Los Guaranies at the 2016 Copa America. The jersey has raglan sleeves, mesh ventilation inserts, and is engineered with climacool. 100% polyester.
Find out how to order the Paraguay home jersey today.
Paraguay away jersey
Find out how to order the Paraguay away jersey today.
Read all of the Copa America team previews
• Argentina team preview
• Bolivia team preview
• Brazil team preview
• Chile team preview
• Colombia team preview
• Costa Rica team preview
• Ecuador team preview
• Haiti team preview
• Jamaica team preview
• Mexico team preview
• Panama team preview
• Paraguay team preview
• Peru team preview
• United States team preview
• Uruguay team preview
• Venezuela team preview
If you have questions about the Paraguay preview, let us know in the comments section below.
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