June 2, 2006
Random World Cup Facts: Paraguay
Times Qualified: 7
Best Finish: Second Round (1986, 1998, 2002)
YouTube Clip: A compilation of retired goalkeeper José Luis Chilavert who made 74 appearances and scored eight goals for Paraguay
Football in Paraguay: The Liga Paraguaya is like most leagues in that it is dominated by a small group of clubs. Olimpia and Cerro Porteño have combined for 65 league titles in the 95 year history of the league. Recently though, Olimpia's place at the top has been taken by Libertad, who are currently in the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores.
These clubs, like almost every club in South America, have difficulty holding onto their elite players when clubs from Europe and even Argentina and Mexico come in offering higher wages. As a result, only five of this year's squad play in Paraguay.
Players to Watch: Roque Santa Cruz (Bayern Munich) is certainly to most well known name on the team, but their are some concerns about his health going into the early group matches. Nelson Cuevas (Pachuca) made a name for himself as a supersub four years ago and can score when in form.
Chances: Paraguay will certainly need to get a win against either England or Sweden to have a chance of advancing. It does not look like they have the talent to advance to the second round for the third successive World Cup.
Prediction: 3rd place in Group B