HAVING taken charge of just two friendly internationals, can new Paraguay coach Ramon Diaz find a winning tune from an ageing squad? Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) and Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) talk you through their chances of success.
- Outright Winner: 50/1 (SkyBet)
- Group B Winner: 14/1 (Bet365)
- Top-Two Group B Finish: 2/1 (BetVictor)
- Highest Scoring Team: 100/1 (SkyBet)
- Form Post-World Cup: W1-D2-L4
Tim Vickery's View[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/206967483?secret_token=s-o0JaR” params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]
Mark O'Haire's View
Having qualified for four World Cups in succession and reaching the knockout stage in all bar one, Paraguay were living the dream. One of the smaller South American sides were punching above their weight but the glory days soon turned sour; La Albirroja finished bottom of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers and so are starting from scratch.
Former Oxford manager Ramon Diaz has been given the job of rebuilding the castle but having been appointed in December 2014, will have taken charge of just three friendlies before the serious business begins. The Argentina boss labelled the job, “the biggest challenge of my career” and will be assisted by his son Emiliano.
Diaz is yet to decide on a system to suit the players available to him but has opted to fill the spine of his side with experienced stalwarts. Goalkeeper Justo Villar, defender Paulo Da Silva, holding midfielder Victor Caceres and striker Roque Santa Cruz should all feature whilst Lucas Barrios returns to the fold having made a successful return from injury.
Like most competing nations, Paraguay will be looking to fine-tune their team in time for the World Cup qualifiers. But more so than others, the La Albirroja will be treating their group games as friendlies – the aim is to progress, just to make sure they get at least four games under their belt.
Despite a worryingly poor return of W3-D6-L9 from their past 18 fixtures, the focus is on experimentation and progression for a nation that’s been directionless since 2010. However, failure to see off Jamaica and a first round exit won’t be received well back home as supporters continue to grow restless with Paraguay’s stagnation.
The View From The Inside
“This is just an experiment, a warm up – like a friendly tournament before the league season begins, only the league season for Paraguay are the World Cup qualifiers. I think they will want to get through the group so they at least get four games under their belt but for now it is about seeing what formation works and who will fit into Ramón Díaz's plans rather than results.
They should sneak out the group in third, possibly with just three points from the Jamaica game. But likely to be as clueless about how the World Cup qualifiers will pan out after the tournament as we are now.”
– Ralph Hannah (@ParaguayRalph) of Paraguay Football
- Paraguay vs Argentina | 13th June 2015 | 22.30 | Premier Sports
- Paraguay vs Jamaica | 16th June 2015 | 22.00 | Premier Sports
- Paraguay vs Uruguay | 20th June 2015 | 20.00 | Premier Sports
Paraguay Form & Stats
|Last 10 Competitive Games||W2-D2-L6||Last 20 Competitive Games||W3-D7-L11|
|0-0 Draw||0/10||0-0 Draw||1/20|
|Over 1.5 Goals||9/10||Over 1.5 Goals||18/20|
|Over 2.5 Goals||5/10||Over 2.5 Goals||10/20|
|Over 3.5 Goals||3/10||Over 3.5 Goals||6/20|
|Over 4.5 Goals||2/10||Over 4.5 Goals||3/20|
|Both Teams To Score||6/10||Both Teams To Score||11/20|
|Fail To Score||2/10||Fail To Score||7/20|
|Clean Sheet||2/10||Clean Sheet||4/20|
|HT Draw||5/10||HT Draw||11/20|
|Over 1.5 Team Goals||2/10||Over 1.5 Team Goals||4/20|
|Win + Both Teams To Score||0/10||Win + Both Teams To Score||1/20|