Guatemala vs Paraguay
Estadio Mateo Flores
25/04/12, 22.00 hs (03.00 hs BST)
Paraguay embark on the final rehearsal before the returning to the World Cup Qualifying scene in June with that crucial game against Bolivia in La Paz. Chiqui Arce has picked a casera squad with two exceptions, Jorge Nuñez and Fernando Gimenez travel from Colombia and Ecuador respectively to join the group. This is Paraguay’s fourth visit to the Guatemalan capital having previously played twice in 1965 and most recently 1999. They won the last fixture 2-1 thanks to goals from Edgar Benitez, who starts tonight, and Ariel Bogado, who didn’t make the squad.
Chiqui Arce has used vastly varied teams throughout the recent spate of friendlies but has generally stuck to a 4-4-2 which seems the plan for tonight. The weakness is probably Tomás Bartomeus who has been forced to play out of position at left back, however he will get good cover from Emelec’s Fernando Gimenez who can get up and down. One of the few players to have featured in all the matches this year is Cerro Porteño’s Edgar Benitez who will play up front tonight but has also been used as a winger. El Pajaro is fast and very dangerous when running at defenders, Guatemala had a hard time containing him last time round.
The home side, managed by Ever Almeida of Paraguay, were relatively positive in the previous encounter but had a heavy reliance on Pappa in midfield. La Albirroja neutralised that threat with good pressing in the middle of the pitch and it will probably be the task of Eric Ramos to do the dirty work for the visitor’s tonight. La Azul y Blanco have been in good form at home, winning their last three with a goal difference of 10-1, although their last game against CONMEBOL opposition here saw them lose 2-0 to Venezuela, I think it could be a similar story tonight.
PREDICTION: Paraguay travelled well to central America previously and have enough quality up front to win this, 0-2
SELECTED ODDS: Guatemala win 4.1, Draw 3.6, Paraguay win 2.02, Under 2.5 goals 1.94, 0-2 scoreline 11.0
BEST BET: The away win is too good value to miss out on especially when you consider that these players have spent most of their Mondays and Tuesdays with Chiqui Arce in special training camps, back Paraguay
Paraguay XI confirmed (4-4-2)
D.Barreto; R.Mazzacotte, P.Aguilar, S.Candia, T.Barthomeus; J. Nuñez, E.Ramos, J.Mendoza, F.Gimenez; J.A.Nuñez, E.Benitez
Paraguay record in Guatemala: Pld 3 W 2 D 1 L 0 GF 7 GA 1
Paraguay record vs Guatemala: Pld 7 W 6 D 1 L 0 GF 16 GA 6
Paraguay away record last six (friendlies): Pld 6 W 4 D 0 L 2 GF 12 GA 7
Full Squad list
GK: Diego Barreto (Cerro Porteño), Joel Silva (Guaraní)
DEF: Tomás Bartomeus (Guaraní), Pablo Aguilar (Sportivo Luqueño), Salustiano Candia (Olimpia), Julio Manzur (Guaraní), Ricardo Mazacotte (Nacional)
MID: Reinaldo Ocampo (Sol de América), Jorge Mendoza (Guaraní), Willian Mendieta (Sol de América), Eric Ramos (Rubio Ñu), Marcos Riveros (Nacional), Eduardo Echeverría (Carapeguá), Jorge Nuñez (Once Caldas), Fernando Gimenez (Emelec)
ATT: Edgar Benítez (Cerro Porteño), Pablo Velazquez (Libertad), José Ariel Nuñez (Libertad)
By Ralph Hannah
Authors Note: All odds correct at time of writing via Betfair