Sergio Aguer failed to score a penalty as Argentina suffered their first home loss in a 1-0 World Cup qualifier loss against Paraguay in Cordoba.
Having announced himself fit despite the calf injury picked up during training, Aguero failed to make impact after he had his penalty kick saved by Paraguay goalkeeper, Justo Villar who recorded his first start since this year’s Copa America.
It was an essential moment with Argentina already trailing to Derlis Gonzalez’s counter-attacking opener in the first half, after the winger exploited a lack of pace in an opposition defense.
Paraguay sat on the goal, inviting pressure from the hosts, who struck the post through Angel Di Maria in the first half as Marcos Rojo goal was controversially ruled out as offside.
Argentina, without Lionel Messi due to a groin injury, could not break down Francisco Arce’s side and subsequently drop out of the automatic qualification spots in the CONMEBOL section following a third match without a victory.
Paraguay were close to scoring an opener in the seventh minute when Gustavo Gomez gave a diving header wide using Oscar Romero’s free-kick from the left. They only had to wait 11 more minutes to make the breakthrough, though, and it came following a rapid counter-attack.
Angel Di Maria came close to restoring parity midway through the half when his left-footed sprint from the edge of the box hit the base of the post and went behind, while Rojo sliced an opportunity over in the 26th minute.
The hosts got a brilliant chance to equalize at the beginning of the second half when a header from Gonzalo Higuain struck Paulo da Silva’s arms inside the box, but Villar dived low to his left to deny Aguero from netting the awarded penalty.
Argentina continued to be in charge of the pitch but Higuain could not poke in Di Maria’s low cross in the 64th minute as substitute, Paulo Dybala had a 20-yard drive batted away by Villar as Paraguay clung on to an important three points.
Paraguay coach Francisco Arce has stated that his team will come back stronger after their defeat against Uruguay.
Indeed Paraguay has been beaten 4-0 by their rivals in their latest World Cup qualifiers. It was a poor performance from the team as they allowed Uruguay plenty of time and space on the ball.
Francisco Arce said that this was an accident and that he will be working with his players to prevent a repeat of such a performance. He admitted that Uruguay was better than them on the day, but his players could have done better. He said that there was no aggression and pressure from his players as they allowed Uruguay plenty of time on the ball.
Francisco Arce said that the players should prepare themselves well ahead of their future games in the qualifiers. He believes his team has the necessary potential to make it to the World Cup, but it will all depend on how they perform in the match against the big teams.
He said that there was not a big difference in class between the two teams and it is the players that did not perform at their best on the day. He has asked fans to stay behind the team and not to criticize the players unnecessarily. Indeed there has been mounting pressure from fans after the defeat and many pundits have called for Francisco Arce to be sacked from the team. They believe that the team is not progressing under the manager, and that changes are needed at the head of the team if Paraguay is going to make it to the World Cup.
Uruguay did not give Paraguay any chance in the game. They opened the score early through Cavani and added two more goals before half-time to make it 3-0. Uruguay added another goal just after the break to seal a major victory for the team.
After successive victory in Copa America finals, there could be complacency so Chile coach issued a clear warning to his team that they could not afford to be overconfident as they continue with the World Cup qualifiers next week.
Superstar Alexis Sanchez who plays for Arsenal in the English Premier League, Arturo Vidal with German champions Bayern Munich and Claudio Bravo in a purported move to Manchester City from Barcelona are set to feature when Chile play their qualifiers on September 1 and 6.
Chile is set to meet with Paraguay in the first meeting, and host Bolivia five days after in Santiago. Chile are in fourth place in the CONMEBOL standings after garnering ten points from the games played so far. Uruguay and Ecuador lead with 13 points each, leaving Argentina in third with 11 points. Fans are already hoping the confidence from lifting the Copa America would help the team get past Paraguay, before they meet the lowly ranked Bolivia. However, Pizzi has cautioned them sternly.
“We can’t hand on what we have done in the Copa America Centenario. There are still many more matches in this qualifying. We aren’t in first place, we are fourth.
“And if we want to make it to the World Cup, we are going to have to make a lot of sacrifices, work very hard and win the points that we need to get us qualfified,” Pizzi explained.
Arturo Vidal scored two goals as his club defeated archrivals Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup. The win helped the German side win their first Super Cup in four seasons. Pizzi hailed the player’s performance at the news conference, especially after his show at the Copa America. Pizzi adds that he hope Sanchez would join them in top shape after his scare at the Copa America.
Paraguay will have to rebuild their team if they want to qualify for the next World Cup after their Copa America exit.
Indeed, Paraguay has been eliminated from the Copa America Centenario following the defeat against the United States. For many pundits, this has been a big disappointment for a team that has reached the semifinals in the last two tournaments.
Paraguay has not managed to win a single match at the Copa America and scored only one goal. They managed only to draw with Costa Rica and were beaten by Colombia. They needed a win against the United States in order to progress to the next round, but they unfortunately lost the game.
Paraguay’s next games will be against the likes of Chile and Uruguay for the World Cup qualifiers, and they will have to improve a lot if they want to have a chance of making it to the World Cup. They are currently seventh in the table and with only the top four teams making it to the finals, Paraguay will have to make changes to their team if they want to have a hope of qualifying.
In a statement released by the football association of Paraguay, it has been revealed that coach Ramon Diaz has resigned from his post following the elimination. The team will have some major rebuilding to do if they want to have a chance to make it to the next World Cup.
At the moment, they seem to be a team that lacks cohesion and organization. We will have to wait for the end of the Copa America to find out which coach will replace Diaz. Paraguay possesses a lot of quality players, but they will need the right coach to help them organize the team.
Paraguay manager Ramon Diaz recently handed over his resignation after his team were eliminated from the Copa America much earlier than expected.
Paraguay were one of the teams competing in the centenary edition of the Copa America, which was being held in the United States and other North American countries.Diaz had been in charge of the Paraguayan national team for 18 months, but the 56-year-old did not manage to achieve anything significant during this period. However, he was hoping to make an impact at the Copa America. Failure to do the same has resulted in his exit.
The national team have begun searching for a new manager and are expected to be in no hurry before making the announcement. The national team went on the run of six matches without a win towards the end ofDiaz’ regime. They were knocked out of the Copa America after having taken just one point from the three games in the group stages. Paraguay will be aware that the next manager has to be excellent from the word go since he will not have any breathing space in the form of friendly games. His first match is likely to be the World Cup qualification game against Chile in September and it will be immediately followed by a game against Uruguay.
“After the end of Paraguay’s participation in the Copa America Centennial, professor Ramon Diaz tendered his irrevocable resignation as technical director of the Paraguayan football team,” read a statement on the official website of the Paraguayan national team after the exit from the competition. The solitary point taken by Paraguay at the centenary Copa America came in the 0-0 draw with Costa Rica in the opening group game. Since then, they suffered a 2-1 loss against Colombia followed by the narrow 1-0 defeat against United States.
Paraguay have omitted experienced forward Lucas Barrios in the final squad for the Copa America.
Manager Ramon Diaz has taken this decision despite seeing the forward come up with two goals in the previous edition of the tournament in Chile. The upcoming Copa America is held to celebrate the centenary year. Hence, it comes much earlier than its usual schedule. It gives Paraguay a great opportunity to overcome the disappointment of the previous edition.
The national team may be without the great players that it had a few years ago, but Ramon Diaz will see this as a great opportunity to build a team for the future. This may have been the reasoning behind omitting the 31-year-old from the squad ahead of this crucial tournament.
Interestingly,Barrios was part of the Paraguayan national team in the provisional squad, while he also played for the national team in the games against Brazil and Ecuador a few months ago in the World Cup qualifiers. The Copa America centenary edition will take place in United States. The tournament starts on June 3. The opening match for Paraguay will be against Costa Rica and they are involved in a group containing hosts United States.
Columbia are the other team in the group. Hence, Paraguay will already face a lot of challenges to even reach the knockout stages. They are not one of the favourites to progress to the next round. United States and Colombia will be seen as the potential teams to progress. However, Paraguay can spring a surprise if they start the campaign on a positive note by winning against Costa Rica. Anything other than a victory will be a huge dampener to the national team’s hopes. Some of the older players like Paulo da Silva and Roque Santa Cruz continue to be part of the team.
Paraguay would be disappointed that they could not beat Brazil side after having lead 2-0 in the game.
Indeed, a late Dani Alves goal denied them a famous victory over their rival.
The match started well for Paraguay, and they took the lead in the 39th minute when Dario Lezcano connected with an Edgar Benitez cross. His shot rebounded off the ground above all the defenders and deceived the goalkeeper. This allowed Paraguay to lead Brazil at half-time.
In an attempt to boost his attack, the Brazilian coach Dunga will send Hulk on the pitch after the break, but it would be Paraguay that will strike again. This time, it was Benitez, the scorer. With the Brazilian defence appealing for offside, Benitez will recover the ball at the edge of the box and beat the goalkeeper with a precise shot.
Brazil will come back into the game and started creating chances after the chances. They will score a goal in the 62 minutes, but it would be disallowed because the scorer Gil will be penalized for climbing over his marker.
But they will ultimately get a goal with 12 minutes remaining in the match. The Paraguay goalkeeper, Justo Villar will fail to catch on Hulk thunderous shot and the ball will fall back to Ricardo Oliveira, The latter will not miss the target and made the score 2-1.
And in the injury time, it was Dani Alves that would score the equalizing goal. He will receive the ball in the box and after a fantastic control, he will unleash a curling shot that gave Villar no chance.
Dani Alves was pleased with the way his team performed especially after going 2 goals down and believes the fighting attitude will ultimately help Brazil improve their game.
Paraguay has earned a deserved draw against Ecuador in Quito on Friday in their World Cup qualifying game.
Ecuador, who is unbeaten on home soil for 18 matches in World Cup qualifiers, earned a point late in the game thanks to a goal from Angel Mena.
Ecuador did start the game brilliantly and had multiple opportunities to open the scoring. Christian Noboa had the first opportunity to open the scoring for Ecuador only to find himself denied by the Paraguay’s keeper, Justo Villar.
In an entertaining match, Paraguay also had their chances early on with Jorge Benitez missing a good opportunity to score.
It is Ecuador who opened the score in the match in the 20th minutes thanks to a goal by West Ham player Enner Valencia. Noboa fired a shot from 25 yards which hit the post and Valencia was the first man on the rebound. After a wonderful chest control, he placed the ball beyond the reach of Villar to put Ecuador in front.
Paraguay was not discouraged by the goal and instead continued to create opportunities of their own. The best opportunity to equalized came in the 32nd minute with a free-kick where Bruno Valdez header went wide of the target. Paraguay finally managed to equalize in the 38th minute through Dario Lezcano. Ortigoza managed to find Edgar Benitez with a superb pass to start a brilliant counter attack. Benitez escapes Dominguez challenge to pass the ball to Lezcano for a tap in.
After the break, both teams continue to create goal scoring opportunities but it is Lezcano who scored his second goal to give Paraguay the lead in the match. He escaped the challenge from Erazo and Achiller and beat Dominguez with a great finish.
The match stayed the same until the goal from Mena seven minutes from time. Mena chipped the ball over the Paraguay keeper after a magnificent ball from Noboa to keep Ecuador unbeaten record intact.
When Paraguay’s Roque Santa Cruz made a return to his former club Malaga, he was a fairly consistent player as he was getting time in the pitch in just about every single game of the Spanish club but things have taken a turn for the worst as the Paraguayan attacker has been dropped to the sidelines and he time in the pitch is starting to be limited.
Santa Cruz recently reached a milestone as he reached his 100th appearance with Malaga but the time that he has spent in the Spanish club since having joined back in August of 2015 has not been so impressive but things could change soon for the Paraguayan player as he has received interest from another club who might launch an offer for the veteran player when the summer transfer window re-opens in the summer.
Club Olimpia has shown interest in signing the 34 year old Paraguayan player and the chairman of the club Marco Trovato has confirmed their desire to sign Roque Santa Cruz as he said: ‘’Everything will depend on Cruz Azul, but I have already offered proposal’s to Roque Santa Cruz as well as Aproniano (his father) and have told them that our doors are opened for them as they can help the club in achieving big things’’
Marco Trovato continued on saying that the financial aspect of the transaction is not the main problem in relation to signing Roque Santa Cruz but the principal thing is if whether or not Cruz Azul is interested in letting the experienced player leave the club.
Roque Santa Cruz is currently performing for Malaga but hes on a loan deal from the Mexican side Cruz Azul and they have the final say in whether or not he will be leaving the club anytime soon.
Paraguayan striker Hernan Perez claimed that Espanyol need to be more consistent with their performances if they are to rise up the table.
The striker was speaking after the Spanish club could only manage a 1-1 draw against Levante. The Spanish club have managed only two wins in the last five matches. At this rate, they will struggle to even finish in the top half of the table. Doing well is extremely important for the Catalan club given that their archrivals Barcelona are flying high this season. Perez says that concentration – or the lack of it – appears to be the main problem for Espanyol at this stage.
Perez has more often been a first-team regular for the club. He has come on from the bench in only two out of the 14 league games he has represented the team this season.
Espanyol have been able to get a decent return from the 25-year-old striker, who has four goals and one assist to his name. This is an impressive tally considering that manager Gâlcă has been deploying him as an attacking midfielder either on the right or on the left. His goal return is expected to improve if he plays up front for the team. It remains to be seen if the club can return to winning ways when they take on Celta de Vigo this weekend.
“Every week we work and we know what to do, but it’s true that sometimes need a little more concentration by all and give a little more. There are times when the fans also influences a little, because it seems to rush to want to always go with the ball. Sometimes we have to wait our time to find the gaps. I do not like losing and when it happens, I suffer a lot,” said the Paraguayan.