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.