This afternoon Gerardo Pelusso named his first competitive squad for the World Cup Qualifiers in Córdoba against Argentina on September 7th and the home game in Asunción versus Venezuela on September 11th. The preliminary list is of 20 players currently playing outside of Paraguay, on August 31st the Uruguayan coach will confirm his squad with the inclusion of names from the local leagues.
In general the squad is the same set of names that took on Guatemala in a friendly last week but there are a few new faces. Notably the ex-Libertad pair of versatile midfielder Víctor Ayala and in-form striker Robin Ramirez have earned call ups, Ayala was a key player in the previous home qualifiers thanks to his dead ball expertise. Ramirez on the other hand hasn’t featured much for the national team despite finishing top scorer in the Colombian Apertura. In defence there is a recall for full back Marcos Cáceres who seems to have found his feet at Newell’s Old Boys, even scoring at the weekend.
Goalkeepers: Justo Villar (Estudiantes LP, Argentina); Antony Silva (Deportes Tolima, Colombia).
Defenders: Paulo Da Silva (Pachuca, México), Darío Verón (Pumas, México), Antolín Alcaraz (Wigan Athletic, England), Iván Piris (Roma, Italy), Marcos Cáceres (Newell’s Old Boys, Argentina).
Midfielders: Víctor Ayala (Lanús, Argentina), Fernando Giménez (Emelec, Ecuador), Víctor Cáceres (Flamengo, Brazil), Hernán Pérez (Villarreal, Spain), Cristian Riveros (Kayserispor, Turkey), Marcelo Estigarribia (Sampdoria, Italy), Osvaldo Martínez (Atlante, México).
Forwards: Roque Santa Cruz (Manchester City, England), Nelson Haedo (Valencia, Spain), Óscar Cardozo (Benfica, Portugal), Edgar Benítez (Toluca, México), Luis Caballero (Krylya Sovetov, Russia), Robin Ramírez (Deportes Tolima, Colombia)
By Ralph Hannah