CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers: Paraguay vs Argentina preview

Paraguay vs Argentina
Defensores del Chaco, Asunción
10/09/2013; 21:40 hrs (02:40 hrs BST)
CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifier
TV: SNT, Telefuturo (Paraguay)

The 97th meeting between Paraguay and Argentina takes place tonight in what is expected to be a packed Defensores del Chaco. What seems to be a new dawn for the Albirroja has come too late in the qualifying stages to propel them to Brazil (by the time of kick off it may not even be mathematically possible to reach the playoffs) but there is plenty of hope and interest in Victor Genes´ group of players. Argentina can secure direct qualification with a win, they also have a score to settle here in Asunción having lost the previous two qualifiers here.

Paraguay prepare for Argentina - Photo: Seleccion Paraguaya de futbol

Paraguay prepare for Argentina – Photo: Seleccion Paraguaya de futbol

Genes has done brilliantly in his opening two games to blend a mix of youngsters and experienced players and instil them all with confidence to play good football and not be afraid to keep possession. It was something that Arce couldn’t seem to instruct his players to do and something Pelusso didn’t really want his teams to do. Reports suggest he will go to a back four in this game with Samudio and Marcos Cáceres the full backs but maintaining a midfield three with Ortiz, Ayala and Riveros offering protection to the attacking trio of Jonathan Fabbro, Roque Santa Cruz and one other, possibly José Ariel Nuñez. The inclusion of Riveros is definitely a nod to the player’s experience in these important qualifiers. Roque had a superb game against Bolivia and has now scored in his last two qualifiers. In goal Roberto Fernandez could become the 48th player used in the qualification campaign.

Fabbro lines up against the country of his birth - Photo: Seleccion Paraguaya de Futbol

Fabbro lines up against the country of his birth – Photo: Seleccion Paraguaya de Futbol

Argentina are with Messi and Aguero up front which will cause plenty of problems, although Paraguay drew with Germany they conceded three and you would certainly align Argentina´s attacking talents with that of the Europeans. Da Silva and Candia are set to be tested consistently and it would be something of a miracle if they manage to keep a third straight cleansheet against Argentina in the Defensores del Chaco.

Paraguay XI (Possible): Roberto Fernández; Marcos Cáceres, Salustiano Candia, Paulo Da Silva, Miguel Samudio; Víctor Ayala, Cristian Riveros, Richard Ortiz; Jonathan Fabbro; Roque Santa Cruz, José Ariel Núñez

Argentina XI (Possible): Sergio Romero; Pablo Zabaleta, Fabricio Coloccini, Hugo Campagnaro, José Basanta; Lucas Biglia, Fernando Gago, Ángel Di María; Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Rodrigo Palacio

Prediction: 1-1

SELECTED ODDS: Paraguay win 4.9, Draw 3.75, Argentina win 1.86; Under 2.5 Goals 1.98; BTTS 1.84

BEST BET: BTTS worked well last time and I can see Paraguay scoring (set piece Ayala assist probably) and it is unlikely they keep a cleansheet

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STATS AND TRIVIA

Argentina haven’t beaten Paraguay away in a world cup qualifier since 1997, for more history check out this post

Paraguay vs Argentina Head-to-Head (World Cup Qualifiers)

Pld 15 W 2 D 8 L 5 GF 12 GA 20

There is a whole blog post dedicated to stats which you can check out here it is only missing the previous qualifier which Argentina won 3-1

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PARAGUAY FULL SQUAD

Paraguay squad to play Bolivia and Argentina

Paraguay squad to play Bolivia and Argentina

 

By Ralph Hannah

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