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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

PARAGUAY vs JAPAN >>> Match Preview

Coach Okada : "We'll engineer a way through Paraguay"

History will be made whatever the outcome when Paraguay meet Japan in the Round of 16 – for whoever prevails in Pretoria will advance to the FIFA World Cup™ quarter-finals for the first time. Having gone beyond the group stage on three of their past seven finals appearances.

Gerardo Martino's Paraguay will be determined to build on their success in finishing top of Group F against a Japan side through to the knockout phase for the first time on foreign soil.
Previously famed for their tenacious rearguard,
Paraguay are not just about defence, their 4-3-3 formation including the vastly-experienced Rogue Santa Crus alongside Borussia Dortmund duo Lucas Barrios and Nelson Valdez. Yet they also carry a scoring threat from midfield as Enrique Vera and Cristian Riveros showed when each scored in their 2-0 win over Slovakia.

Opponents Japan have shaken off the lacklustre form they showed in the build-up to this tournament to defeat Cameroon and Denmark en route to the last 16. Coach Takeshi Okada's tactical gamble has paid off in style, with Keisuke Honda thriving in a new attacking role. Behind him, Yasuhito Endo and Makoto Hasebe have bossed the midfield and Japan showed against Denmark that their armoury includes a distinct set-piece threat – two of their three goals coming direct from free-kicks.
Of course their tireless approach also gives them a seeming edge in fitness over some of their rivals. While there is likely to be no change in the Japan lineup, Paraguay have to make do without defensive midfielder Victor Caceres through suspension although centre-back Antolin Alcaraz could return after sitting out the last game through an ankle injury.

It is the two sides' first match-up at the FIFA World Cup but they are by no means strangers having met six times previously. The South Americans have recorded two wins to Japan’s one, though the Asians prevailed in the most recent friendly in 2003.

Japan player to watch: Yasuhito Endo
Much of Japan's success at this World Cup has been built on set-pieces, and Endo is one of the best exponents in the team. The 30-year-old, who was Asia's Player of the Year in 2009, is at the hub of the creativity in the side and has an excellent range of passing.

Paraguay player to watch: Enrique Vera
Vera's darting run from midfield to score Paraguay's opening goal in the 2-0 win over Slovakia has been one of the highlights of Paraguay's campaign so far. Though primarily a defensive player, Vera has the ability to weigh in with goals too.

Key Battle : Justo Villar v Keisuke Honda
Injured in the opening minutes of Paraguay's Germany 2006 campaign, Villar has been seeking to make amends this time and conceded just one goal during the group campaign. The 32-year-old Paraguay captain, however, will have to be wary of Japan's danger man Honda, the midfielder-turned striker who has scored twice so far. The 25-year-old CSKA Moscow man has quickly become Japan's new talisman over the past months, scoring six goals which led to six wins.
Japan have already surprised many at this tournament, but the strength of Paraguay's defence should be the difference. While the Samurais are agile & speedy, the South American have the physical advantage to deal with aerial attacks. This will work in their favour in the opponent's penalty box and set pieces.
Paraguay to nick this one maybe by 2 goals.
You can expect the Samurais to fight till the last man standing.
Great match tonight.
Take PARAGUAY give 1/2 goal >>> JAPAN (Main Bet)
Take PARAGUAY WIN w/o giving Handicap (Main Bet)

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