World Cup Preview: Paraguay vs. Spain

This match will see history created regardless of which team wins as both Paraguay and Spain have never reached the Semi-final of a World Cup.

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Paraguay

Ranking: 31

Paraguay were never expected to reach the quarter-finals. They got a little lucky as all teams in their group didn’t play to their potential with Italy being the guiltiest of that crime. Paraguay managed to draw their games against Slovakia and Italy.  Against Japan, Paraguay won on penalties after goalless draw courtesy a Japan side that can defend beautifully but just can’t score. Today’s game against Spain is Paraguay’s chance to leave cynics dumfounded.  Gerardo Martino will most likely, go with a 4-4-2 formation with Nelson Valdez and Roque Santa Cruz leading Paraguay’s attack. Victor Caceres, who missed the match against Japan due to suspension, will be available for today’s match and should make the starting XI alongside Enrique Daniel Vera, Miguel Riveros and Aureliano Torres in midfield. Carlos Bonet, Paulo Da Silva, Antolin Alcarez and Claudio Morel will form Paraguay’s back four with Justo Villar in goal.

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Spain

Ranking: 2

Spain lost to Switzerland in their World Cup opener. This shock was probably the best thing that happened to La Furia Roja because since then Spain have simply got better and better with every game. Spain were sublime in their 1-0 win against Euro Finalists Portugal. They completely outplayed Portugal; the 1-0 score line not really doing justice to their performance. Spain undoubtedly have one of the best attacking line-ups and their coach Vincente Del Bosque will most likely put out a 4-3-3 formation. Fernando Torres will keep his position in the starting XI despite being terribly out of form. He along with David Villa and Andres Iniesta will lead Spain’s attack with Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso making up Spain’s midfield. At the back, Spain have quite a solid defence. Segio Ramos,Gerrard Pique, Carles Puyol, Joan Capdevilla form Spain’s defensive backbone with captain Iker Casillas in goal.

Manager Speak

I do not know if all teams have the heart of Paraguay. For over 20 days of the World Cup, nobody has matched us. – Gerardo Martino, Paraguay manager

“We know we’re in good shape. It’s been more than 30 days together training as a team and I think these players want to make history.” – Vincente Del Bosque, Spain manager

Stars to Watch Out For

Paraguay: Nelson Valdez, Roque Santa Cruz, Enrique Daniel Vera, Antolin Alcarez

Spain: David Villa, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez

Go Figure!

Roque Santa Cruz is now without a goal in 799 minutes at the World Cup

Xavi created eight goalscoring chances in his last match against Portugal, no player has created more in a single game at this World Cup

Paraguay will be playing in their first-ever World Cup quarter-final

Spain have never won a quarter-final tie at the World Cup, losing two of their four quarter-finals on penalties including their most recent against South Korea

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