Preview: Paraguay vs Chile

Paraguay vs Chile
Estadio Feliciano Caceres
15/02/12, 20.30 hs (23.30 hs GMT)

Paraguay take on Chile in the Feliciano Caceres, Luque hoping to avenge their 3-2 defeat in December in La Serena, Chile. The game involves both teams ‘casera’ squads with the added limitation for Paraguay that no Libertad players can participate due to their Copa Libertadores game the following day.

Chiqui Arce leads training, Photo: Prensa APF

Chiqui Arce finds himself under enormous pressure, partly due to an indifferent start (3 wins, 2 draws, 3 defeats) but mostly to the huge expectations of the Paraguayan public and media following four straight World Cup appearances reaching the Quarter Finals in 2010 and finishing runner up at last year’s Copa América. Incredibly Arce was asked in a recent press conference if he would resign after the next World Cup Qualifier against Bolivia if the result was unfavourable. Just an indication of the pressure he is under after less than a year in the job. The Paraguay Football Blog would like to take this opportunity to say they give Chiqui 100% backing especially with his approach towards the youth teams (for Spanish Speakers).

Paraguay's last friendly in Luque vs Bolivia on a freezing night

Paraguay go into the game with an excellent record against Chile at home and a great recent home record but they do have the odd statistic of never having scored a goal in Luque’s Feliciano Caceres stadium, albeit only having played there twice. They will hope to change that today with a combination of power and pace in attack. While strikers Luis Caballero and José Ortigoza are both strong aerially and with their back to goal they are flanked by two speedy slight wingers in ‘Pajaro’ Benitez and Cesar ‘Flames’. Olimpia’s Osvaldo Hobecker rejoins his old partner in central midfield Eric Ramos of Rubio Ñu in what is a mobile if slightly ‘soft’ pairing. In defense there is experience and versatility, all four players can play centre back or full back.

CONFIRMED XI (4-4-2) Diego Barreto; Tomás Bartomeus, Salustiano Candia, Julio Manzur, Enrique Meza; César Llamas, Osvaldo Hobecker, Eric Ramos, Édgar Benítez; Luis Caballero, José Ortigoza

STATS

Paraguay record in Luque: P 2 W 0 D 1 L 1 GF 0 GA 2

Paraguay record vs Chile (at home): Pld 15 W 10 D 2 L 3 GF 22 GA 6

Paraguay home record (2011): Pld 5 W 2 D 3 L 0 GF 5 GA 2

Full Squad list

GK: Diego Barreto (Cerro Porteño), Joel Silva (Guaraní)

DEF: Tomás Bartomeus (Guaraní), Salustiano Candia (Olimpia), Julio Manzur (Guaraní), Enrique Meza (Olimpia), Luis Cabral (Guaraní)

MID: Osvaldo Hobecker (Olimpia), Jorge Mendoza (Guaraní), Edgardo Orzusar (Sol de América), Eric Ramos (Rubio Ñu), Fabio Caballero (Olimpia), César Llamas (Rubio Ñu)

ATT: Luis Caballero (Olimpia), Edgar Benítez (Cerro Porteño), Enzo Prono (Sol de América), José Ortigoza (Sol de América), Ariel Bogado (Nacional)

NB: Mendoza replaces Fidencio Oviedo (Cerro Porteño) owing to APF’s decision not to allow players suspended domestically to feature, Orzusar replaces Silvio Torales (Nacional) out through injury

By Ralph Hannah

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