By SUNIL Sonkar
June 29 — Paraguay vs Japan is probably the closest game in the FIFA World Cup 2010 first round of knockout stages. Paraguay is the favorites, but the performance of Japan in group stages cannot be ruled out. In fact Japan really look good value for today’s match against Paraguay.
Japan’s Coach Takeshi Okada said three weeks before that he won’t be happy if his team returns back from FIFA World Cup 2010 without playing at least 5 games. It seems that his words may become true with versatile strategy of his team that is always ready to attack and adopt a defensive formation.
The team has been coached by the one whose tactics are irrelevant in the modern game and we have also noticed that the team has been billed as an overly defensive side. Many criticised that Japan don’t know how to score, but purely they have been the surprise of the World cup so far. Japan has proved everyone wrong.
Form Guide of Japan
Denmark 1-3 Japan
Japan 0-1 Netherlands
Cameroon 0-1 Japan
Ivory Coast 2-0 Japan
Japan 2-1 England
The expected Japan starting line up:
Kawashima, Komano, Tanaka, Nagatomo, Nakazawa, Abe, Endo, Matsui, Hasebe, Honda, Olubo.
Of the South American sides entering the FIFA World Cup 2010, Paraguay were the least talked about. They have shown that they are here to prove at least what game they played in the qualifying round, if not better. Paraguay started with a draw against Italy and then a 2-0 victory over Slovakia. Draw with New Zealand made them down little, but the team is still in top position in Group F.
So far the three-man midfield of Paraguay – Enrique Vera, Victor Caceres and Cristian Riveros – hae been excellent, though Victor Caceres is suspended having picked up two yellow cards. May be Edgar Barreto could take his place in today’s match against Japan.
Form Guide of Paraguay
New Zealand 0-0 Paraguay
Paraguay 2-0 Slovakia
Italy 1-1 Paraguay
Greece 2-0 Paraguay
Ivory Coast 2-2 Paraguay
The expected Paraguay starting line up:
Villar, Morel, Caniza, J Caceres, Da Silva, Vera, Bonet, Riveros, Cardozo, Santa Cruz, Valdez
Players to Watch
Paraguay: Enrique Vera
Japan: Keisuke Honda
Date/Time: 10:00AM US/Eastern (04:00PM South Africa local)
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Tshwane