The 2013 Sudamericano or South American U20s Championship begins in Mendoza, Argentina on January 9th with the Paraguay vs Colombia game, followed by Argentina vs Chile. Here we assess the albirrojitos chances of a victory in their opening match.
Paraguay vs Colombia
Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza
09/01/2013, 20:00 (23:00 GMT)
Paraguay take part in their 26th Sudamericano with a tough game against Colombia who may have missed out on the U17s World Cup in 2011 (the bulk of the current team represented the Cafeteros two years ago) but now have a new coach in Carlos Restrepo. The manager has won the Colombian title with Junior Barranquilla in 2005 and more recently with Olimpia of Honduras in 2009.
Paraguay’s coach, Víctor Genes, has an eleven in his head isn’t going to name his side until the day of the game (tomorrow) and says there is quality throughout the squad and sees little difference between the starters and the bench. In all likelihood we will see a 4-4-2, after all at this level you want to keep it simple and this is what Genes has used in previous games. The main question mark is over what kind of defence will line up. Cerro Porteño’s Paredes and Alonso can both play as centre-backs so could be used in what would be a very physical and aerially strong back four. Alternatively he may opt to move Alonso into the middle at the expense of Perez and bring in Manuel Balbuena a more traditional left-back. The key attacking forces will be Jorge Rojas on the right wing who will bring plenty of pace as he supports another pacey player in Benfica striker Derlis Gonzalez. Cecilio Dominguez will be relied on to hold up the ball and get on the end of crosses, moving into the space made by Gonzalez’s runs.
Unfortunately I know little about Paraguay’s rivals and I wouldn’t want to speculate too much at this stage, the below ‘possible XIs’ have been taken from Pablo Pedrero’s blog (in Spanish), a Paraguayan journalist currently in Mendoza following the side.
Paraguay XI (possible): Diego Morel; Teodoro Paredes, Gustavo Gómez, Matías Pérez, Junior Alonso; Jorge Rojas, Ángel Lucena, Iván Ramírez, Rodrigo Alborno; Derlis González, Cecilio Domínguez
Colombia XI (possible): Cristian Bonilla; Andres Correa Valencia (or Helibelton Palacios Zapata), Felipe Aguilar Mendoza, Julian Alonso Figueroa Rentería, Yair Andres Ibarguen Murillo; Jose David Leudo Romaña, Sebastian Perez Cardona, Cristian Palomeque (or Cristian Higuita), Juan Quintero; Jhon Cordoba, Brayan Perea (or Luis Mena)
Prediction: I am confident that the preparation of this Paraguay team and the individual quality will bring a win, 2-1
CORRECTION: In the preview to the tournament here I incorrectly mentioned that Junior Alonso will captain the U20s, in fact it is Libertad’s Gustavo Gómez.
By Ralph Hannah