Argentina vs Paraguay
Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza
11/01/2013, 20:00 (23:00 GMT)
Just 48 hours after their defeat to Colombia in the Sudamericano opener, Paraguay are back in action in Mendoza against the hosts Argentina who have traditionally dominated football at this level winning more World Cups than any other country including three of the six hosted this century.
Victor Genes is likely to make changes from the first game, not just because of the defeat but there is a doubt hanging over the fitness of Derlis Gonzalez and of course with so many games packed in you must rotate to avoid over-tiredness. The news coming from the players is that they’ve been practicing in a 3-4-3 formation (see possible XI) below although as Pablo Pedrero points out it could become a 4-4-2 with Balbuena going to left-back and Bryan Montenegro to left midfield (or even being replaced by Rodrigo Alborno). A defensive line of three would make sense as it allows a spare man to cover and in theory neutralising the pace of Porto’s Juan Manuel Iturbe (who has played for Paraguay at senior level but represents Argentina in this tournament) and his partner Luciano Vietto of Racing who scored a hat-trick for his club in the Primera last year.
Paraguay’s goalkeeper Diego Morel has talked about remaining focussed for the full 90 minutes, it was something that Rodrigo Alborno echoed when he talked about maintaing the right attitude throughout the game. If Paraguay get their heads right for this game they should be able to take something from it.
Paraguay XI (possible): Diego Morel; Teodoro Paredes, Matias Perez, Gustavo Gomez; Jorge Rojas, Iván Ramirez, Robert Piris Da Motta, Manuel Balbuena; Juan Villamayor, Cecilio Dominguez, Bryan Montenegro.
Argentina XI (possible): Walter Benítez; Lautaro Gianetti, Lisandro Magallán, Carlos Ruiz, Lucas Romero; Claudio Kranevitter, Alan Ruiz, Alan Aguirre, Ricardo Centurión; Juan Manuel Iturbe, Luciano Vietto
Prediction: Argentina as hosts must be favourites but Paraguay always up their game against their old rivals at any level, 2-2
By Ralph Hannah