Colombia vs Paraguay
Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Melendez, Barranquilla
12/10/2012, 17:30 hs (21:30 BST)
Last in the group, the worst goals per game average and the most goals conceded, playing in a city they have never won in, it isn’t a particularly bright horizon for Paraguay going into this game. Gerardo Pelusso was fairly conservative in his squad selection, the old warriors Nelson Haedo, Paulo Da Silva and Justo Villar all included. Although he has got rid of one hero from South Africa, Dario Verón wasn’t called up following a discussion between the two over preferred playing position.
The biggest question marks were in the leaky defensive backline, hit by Antolín Alcaraz’s injury. Finally Pelusso has decided to drop the captain Justo Villar who was at fault against Venezuela in that historic loss, Cerro Porteño’s Diego Barreto is one of four domestic-based players to be included in the starting line up. The formation is something of a 4-3-3 with Cristian Riveros and Víctor Cáceres accompanied in central midfield by Fidencio Oviedo who will probably be charged with man-marking James Rodriguez. There is no place for Johnny Fabbro as the Uruguayan coach opts for pace over guile and includes José Ariel Nuñez in the side, he will probably play towards the right hand side with Nelson Haedo taking a central role and Sampdoria’s Marcelo Estigarribia on the left.
Colombia are going through a purple patch under Pekerman having smashed Uruguay 4-0 in their previous home qualifier before travelling to Chile and blowing Borghi’s side away to win 3-1. Their top scorer is of course Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao, the tigre has been in sparkling form and it will be interesting to see how Paulo Da Silva and Pablo Aguilar in the Paraguay defence stop him, particularly when he receives the ball with his back to goal. In midfield both Rodriguez and Macnelly Torres are the creative forces that the guaraní will have to try and neutralise, probably with Oviedo and Cáceres marking while Riveros chases the ball.
Prediction: This is the best Colombian side in years and the worst Paraguayan side in at least a decade, 2-0
Paraguay XI (probable): Diego Barreto; Iván Piris, Paulo Da Silva, Pablo Aguilar, Miguel Samudio; Fidencio Oviedo, Víctor Cáceres, Cristian Riveros; José Ariel Nuñez, Nelson Haedo, Marcelo Estigarribia
Colombia XI (probable): David Ospina; Pablo Armero, Carlos Valdes, Mario Yepes, Camilo Zuñiga; Edwin Valencia, James Rodriguez, Aldo Leao Ramirez, Macnelly Torres; Teo Gutierrez, Radamel Falcao
SELECTED ODDS: Colombia win 1.53; Draw 4.4; Venezuela 8.0; 2-0 scoreline 6.8; Under 2.5 goals 1.81
BEST BET: Not much value in home win and Paraguay have leaked goals so Unders isn’t a sure thing, as it is the worst attack vs the best defence a Colombian win to nil currently 2.38 looks excellent value
STATS AND TRIVIA
Paraguay have only scored twice in four games in Barranquilla and have never won there.
Paraguay vs Colombia Head-to-Head (World Cup Qualifiers)
Pld 20 W 10 D 4 L 6 GF 25 GA 20
There is a whole blog post dedicated to stats which you can check out here.
PARAGUAY FULL SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Justo Villar (Estudiantes LP), Antony Silva (Dep. Tolima), Diego Barreto (Cerro Porteño)
Defenders: Paulo Da Silva (Pachuca), Pablo Aguilar (Tijuana), Gustavo Mencia (Libertad), Claudio Vargas (Luque), Iván Piris (Roma), Pedro Benítez (Cerro Porteño), Miguel Samudio (Libertad), Richard Ortiz (Olimpia), Salustiano Candia (Olimpia)
Midfielders: Víctor Cáceres (Flamengo), Cristian Riveros (Kayserispor), Hernán Pérez (Villarreal), Víctor Ayala (Lanus), Marcelo Estigarribia (Sampdoria), Julio Dos Santos (Cerro Porteño), Fidencio Oviedo (Cerro Porteño), Jonathan Fabbro (Cerro Porteño), Silvio Torales (Nacional)
Strikers: José Ariel Nuñez (Libertad), Nelson Haedo (Valencia), Lucas Barrios (Guanzhou EverGrande), Édgar Benítez (Toluca), Luis Nery Caballero (Krylya Sovetov Samara),