Paraguay kick off their Copa America campaign on Sunday. They are to play Qatar, arguably the weakest side in the entire tournament in their opening fixture.
2019 Copa America
Paraguay v Qatar
Saturday 16 June
Estadio do Maracana
Paraguay are going through a rough patch, registering only one win in their last eight matches. However, all those matches were friendlies meaning we can’t put too much reading on those games.
Los Guaranies are going through a bumpy spell right now and there would not be a better occasion to pull off a good win against the Asian visitors. The ‘home’ advantage will most likely come to their aid.
This is a must-win game for the South Americans as they still have to play Argentina and Colombia in this group. A win here puts them in a good chance of qualifying as one of the third best teams.
Goalkeepers: Antony Silva, Roberto Junior Fernandez, Alfredo Aguilar
Defenders: Gustavo Gomez, Ivan Piris, Bruno Valdez, Junior Alonso, Fabian Balbuena, Juan Escobar, Santiago Arzamendia, Ivan Torres
Midfielders: Oscar Romero, Richard Ortiz, Rodrigo Rojas, Miguel Almiron, Celso Ortiz, Matias Rojas
Forwards: Oscar Cardozo, Hernan Perez, Derlis Gonzalez, Federico Santander, Cecilio Dominguez, Juan Iturbe
Qatar has been having a dream run recently in footballing circles. They lifted the recent Asia Cup, and in some style as well. The team won all of their ties and didn’t even concede a goal until the final.
They were invited to take part in the Copa America, and they accepted the invitation with both hands. This tournament will help them a lot into how far are they in preparations for the next World Cup which they are hosting in 2022.
Qatar lost 2-0 to Brazil in their last friendly match in preparation for this tournament and there were some positive signs that this team can compete against the world’s best.
Goalkeepers: Saad Al Sheeb, Youssef Hassan, Mohammed Al Bakri
Defenders: Tareq Salman, Abdulkarim Hassam, Hamed Ismael, , Tameem Al-Muhaza, Assim Madebo, Salem Alhajri, Ahmed Fathy, , Pedro Correira, Al Mahdi Ali, Bassam Husham
Midfielders: Boualem Khoukhi, Karim Boudiaf, Ali Afif, Abdulaziz Hatim, Abdullah Abdul Salam
Forwards: Akram Afif, Hassan Al Haydos, Almoez Ali, Ahmed Al Aaeldin, Ahmed Moein, Abdulaziz Al Ansari
Prediction: Qatar (9/2)
Despite Qatar being the weakest team in the tournament on paper, this Paraguay side doesn’t give me any confidence and I’ll hope for an upset from the visiting team. This Qatar team will be the surprise package of the tournament and it will be interesting to see how far they can go.
Written by Banele Pikwa
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