Sudamericano 2015: Paraguay Squad Preview

Victor Genes has named his 23-man squad for the 2015 Sudamericano in Uruguay that starts next week. Genes guided the previous group of players to the runners-up spot in 2013 and the World Cup. This year not only a place in the 2015 World Cup is up for grabs but a spot at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Here we look at six key players who will be crucial to the Albirrojita’s chances, they kick off on 14th January against Bolivia, full list of fixtures at the bottom of the post.

DEFENCE 

Iván Cañete

Iván Cañete

Club: Atlético Madrid

D.o.B: 22 April 1995

Place of Birth: Luque

Height: 185 cm

Weight: 78 kg

Position: Central defender

The defender moved to Spain aged 12 and was at Rayo Vallecano at U-14 level and the first half of the U-15 season before moving to the Colchoneros. He describes himself as good on the ball and an excellent communicator so he will be expected to organize the defence and try to bring some stability while under pressure. Having been learning from Miranda and Godín over the last couple of years he should be one of the most accomplished defenders on show in Uruguay.

MIDFIELD

Jesús Medina

JesusMedina

Club: Libertad

D.o.B: 30 April 1997

Place of Birth: Limpio

Height: 179 cm

Weight: 67 kg

Position: Attacking midfielder

 

The 17-year-old has been fast-tracked into the U20s because of his enormous talent, the midfielder made his debut in Primera in 2012 aged just 15 and his performances during the U17s Sudamericano in 2013 even saw him linked with a move to PSG. He’s great on the ball, quick feet and a great left foot that can create and score goals. He is likely to be used as an impact sub but expect that impact to be felt.

Jeremías Bogado

JeremiasBogado

Club: Olimpia

D.o.B: 04 July 1995

Place of Birth: Limpio

Height: 172 cm

Weight: 66 kg

Position: Attacking midfielder

 

Bogado broke through into the senior side during the 2014 Apertura making his debut in March but he really came to the fore during the Clausura making 14 appearances and scoring his first senior goal against 3 de Febrero. He makes good runs into the box and will be looking to support his strikers at every opportunity.

Danilo Santacruz

DaniloSantacruzClub: Libertad

D.o.B: 12 June 1995

Place of Birth: Caaguazú

Height: 178 cm

Weight: 75 kg

Position: Attacking midfielder

Another product of the Libertad youth system he has made his presence felt at senior level already including a match winning performance against 12 de Octubre in the Clausura. He can run at players and get into the box and is likely to be one of key scoring threats alongside Díaz and Sanabria (see below)

ATTACK

Tonny Sanabria

Sanabria

Club: AS Roma, Italy

D.o.B: 04 March 1996

 Place of Birth: San Lorenzo 

Height: 180 cm

 Weight: 72 kg

 Position: Striker

 

The former La Masia man has had a stellar rise through the Paraguay ranks, in 2013 he played the U17s Sudamericano, the U20s World Cup that same year and weeks afterwards made his senior debut against Germany in Kaiserslautern. He’s yet to get much game time for the Roma senior side but is often in the matchday squad. That kind of experience should suit him at this level and expect him to be one of the stars of the tournament.

Sergio Díaz


SergioDiaz

Club: Cerro Porteño

D.o.B: 05 March 1998

Place of Birth: Itauguá

Height: 172 cm

Weight: 66 kg

Position: Forward

The diminuitive attacker is the youngest member of the squad but has more senior experience than most having played most of the Clausura in 2014. He managed 8 goals in the league as he formed a partnership with European Champion and Pichichi winner Dani Guiza. Díaz’s low centre of gravity and weaving runs in and around the box has drawn comparisons with Kun Aguero of Manchester City. Expect good things from one of the most exciting players to emerge from Paraguay in the last decade.

FIXTURE LIST

14 JAN vs Bolivia

16 JAN vs Argentina

20 JAN vs Ecuador

22 JAN vs Peru

Should Paraguay finish in the top 3 of this group (they are expected to) they’ll play the Hexagonal final from 26 Jan to 7 Feb with the Top 4 qualifying for the 2015 U20s World Cup, the winner also qualifies for the Olympics and the runner-up has a playoff for the Summer Games.

FULL SQUAD LIST

Goalkeepers: José Colmán (3 de Febrero), Miguel Mereles (Libertad), Tomás Echague (Sportivo Luqueño).

Defenders: Ariel Benítez (Guaraní), Iván Cañete (Atlético Madrid, Spain), Marcos González (Olimpia), Omar Alderete (Cerro Porteño), José Sanabria (Libertad), Juan Escobar (Sportivo Luqueño) & Saúl Salcedo (Olimpia).

Midfielders: Gustavo Viera (Corinthians, Brazil) Jesús Medina (Libertad), Jeremías Bogado (Olimpia), Roque Guachire (Libertad), Walter Araújo (Sol de América), Ángel Benítez (Libertad), Enrique Araújo (Nacional) & Danilo Santacruz (Libertad).

Forwards: Tonny Sanabria (Roma, Italy), Luis Amarilla (Libertad), Brahian Ayala (Rubio Ñu), Sergio Díaz (Cerro Porteño) & Walter González (Olimpia).

By Ralph Hannah

Sudamericano 2013: Paraguay U20s report card

Despite the dampener of defeat on the final day (just look at their faces in the photo below!) the Paraguay U20s players and coaching staff should be very pleased with their performances in Mendoza which culminated in a 2nd place finish and of course an invaluable spot in the U20s World Cup which takes place later this year in Turkey.

Sad faces despite qualification! - Photo: Prensa Seleccion Paraguaya de Futbol

Sad faces despite qualification! – Photo: Prensa Seleccion Paraguaya de Futbol

Here I’ve done a quick report card for the main squad members, like all ratings systems of this kind it isn’t perfect but hopefully gives you an idea of the major performers and the ones to look out for over the course of the year.

Diego Morel (Goalkeeper, Libertad)

Diego Morel - AFP/Daniel Garcia

Diego Morel – AFP/Daniel Garcia

Started the tournament with a howler that cost them the game against Colombia but as the competition progressed he proved to be a very good shot stopper and a safe pair of hands, needs improvement under the high ball and command of his area. 6/10

Teodoro Paredes (Centre-back/Right-back, Cerro Porteño)

Teodoro Paredes - AP Photo/Walter Moreno

Teodoro Paredes – AP Photo/Walter Moreno

The big man from Caaguazú showed plenty of power and strength but also has the technique to be comfortable at full back, his disciplinary record let him down with four yellow cards in the tournament it isn’t a mental problem more a question of timing his tackles. 7/10

Gustavo Gomez (Centre-back, Libertad)

Gustavo Gomez  - Photo: Prensa Selección Paraguaya de Fútbol

Gustavo Gomez – Photo: Prensa Selección Paraguaya de Fútbol

The captain was very strong  throughout the Sudamericano, he’ll be disappointed with his sending off but in general he defended well, marshalled his troops and almost led them onto glory. 8/10

Matías Perez (Centre-back, Nacional)

Matias Perez celebrates in the victory against Chile - Photo: D10.com.py

Matias Perez celebrates in the victory against Chile – Photo: D10.com.py

A good tournament from a player who has played his fair share of senior football already, his three goals are evidence of his strength from set pieces and in general he was unruffled at the back. 7/10

Jorge Manuel Balbuena (Left wing-back, Cerro Porteño)

Balbuena looked good at times going forward, strong in patches defensively but didn’t shine consistently and it wasn’t easy with the defender often helplessly exposed at left wing-back. 6/10

Jorge Rojas (Right wing-back/Right winger/Attacking midfielder, Cerro Porteño)

Jorge Rojas (with hair!) -  Photo: abc.com.py

Jorge Rojas (with hair!) – Photo: abc.com.py

Arguably the best performer in the side he showed pace, power, dribbling skills and awareness to finish the Sudamericano with 2 goals and 3 assists. His versatility was something new, we are used to him as an out-and-out winger with the azulgrana but Víctor Genes moved him into a central role for some games where he impressed. Sure to have caught the eye of some European scouts. 9/10

Rodrigo Alborno (Left midfield, Novara)

Rodrigo Alborno's goal at the tournament - Photo: ABC

Rodrigo Alborno’s goal at the tournament – Photo: ABC

More was expected from Alborno, if only because he has been so good at Inter Milan and is now a Serie B regular – there were certainly flashes of his talent including that well-taken goal against Chile but he let himself down at times with the basics, short passing and deliveries from the dead ball. 6/10

Miguel Almirón (Central midfield, Cerro Porteño)

 Miguel Almiron

Miguel Almiron

A revelation in the middle, while he looks like a stick insect he is full of energy and was a yard quicker than most of the midfielders in the tournament. A lovely range of passing with an eye for the important through ball he also has that canny knack of making room for himself in crowded spots of the pitch. 8/10

Derlis Gonzalez (Striker, Benfica)

The Benfica striker was excellent  - Photo: D10.com.py

The Benfica striker was excellent – Photo: D10.com.py

Solid proof that there are benefits to leaving for Europe at a young age if you are going to get regular football, his time with the Benfica II side has seen Gonzalez develop much more tactical nouse while he still frightens defenders with his searing pace and his clinical finishing. An excellent tournament finishing with 4 goals and 2 assists and maybe posing a question to Pelusso and the senior side. 9/10

Cecilio Dominguez (Striker, Sol de América)

Cecilio Dominguez battles for the ball

Cecilio Dominguez battles for the ball

More than a ‘number 9’ he showed that he is a well rounded player with good skill and the ability to play in a three or a two up front. The fact he only scored one goal doesn’t mean he played badly, he brings in the players around him and created a good partnership with Derlis Gonzalez. 7/10

Others

Juan Villamayor (Striker, Libertad) – nippy, good set piece delivery

Ivan Ramirez (Midfielder, Libertad) – one tremendous performance against Argentina, essentially a ball winner

Angel Lucena (Midfielder, Rubio Ñu) – got better during the competition, needs to improve balance between attacking and defending

Robert Piris (Midfielder, Rubio Ñu) – didn’t impose himself as much as expected considering the amount of senior football he has played, still a talent worth watching

Brian Montenegro (Forward, Tacuary) – inconsistent but at times was very good especially drifting to left to create space for Derlis Gonzalez

Junior Alonso (Defender, Cerro Porteño) – two important goals and clearly a quality left-back but not as suited to being a wing-back

Miller Mareco (Defender, Libertad) – game in during the final stages and like Alonso looks better in a more defensive role

By Ralph Hannah