Twitter

Paraguay seek to emerge from shadows of history

After drawing with world champions Italy then dispensing with Slovakia 2-0 on Sunday, they have their sights on topping Group F to set up an easier game in the Round of 16.

Latest News
article-main
FacebookTwitterWhatsappLinkedin

Often cast as underdogs amongst Latin America's illustrious soocer nations, Paraguay have a feeling their shot at glory is finally within grasp.  

After drawing with world champions Italy then dispensing with Slovakia 2-0 on Sunday, they have their sights on topping Group F to set up an easier game in the Round of 16.

First though they must take on New Zealand on Thursday, a match that in theory it should not be an arduous task for the Albirroja, who beat Brazil and Argentina on the road to South Africa. 

But the New Zealanders can longer be taken for granted, having caused one of the upsets of the tournament by drawing with Italy on Sunday after earlier scoring a last-minute equaliser against Slovakia.     

However, Paraguay are bouyant are their win over Slovakia.     

"It was a great match. We scored and feel close to the round of 16. We'll play the next match as if it's the final," said goalscorer and man of the match Enrique Vera.  

Paraguay top the group with four points after two games with Italy and New Zealand on two and Slovakia on one. They have not gone beyond the second round in seven previous World Cup campaigns but are now daring to dream. 

"We know the goal we have set for ourselves but once we get there we want to keep getting better," striker Roque Santa Cruz said. "Paraguay is proud to be one of those teams who can play and be tough at the same time."

By topping the group, they should avoid playing the Netherlands in the next round, Santa Cruz said.                                           

Still, there are causes for concern for coach Gerardo Martino. He conceded that in the later stages of the first half and start of the second Paraguay took their foot of the pedal against a disappointing Slovakian side. 

"We were pushing forward. We had opportunities but I guess we simply forget what we were doing well," said Martino, who has commented that if the team play to their full potential, "there is no there is no limit as for where we can go".                                           

As for the battle to emerge from the shadow of the likes of Brazil and Argentina, Santa Cruz said: "There is always a time to change history."

Find your daily dose of news & explainers in your WhatsApp. Stay updated, Stay informed-  Follow DNA on WhatsApp.

Live tv