- Paraguay national football team
Infobox National football team
Name = Paraguay
Badge = Paraguay_football_association.gif
FIFA Trigramme = PAR
"La Albirroja" (White and red)
Association = "
Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol"
CONMEBOL( South America)
Coach = flagicon|Argentina
Most caps =
Top scorer =
José Saturnino Cardozo(25)
Home Stadium =
Estadio Defensores del Chaco
1st ranking date = August 1993
FIFA Rank = 22
FIFA max = 8
FIFA max date = March 2001
FIFA min = 103
FIFA min date = May 1995
Elo Rank = 16
Elo max = 5
Elo max date = 1954
Elo min = 44
Elo min date = August 1962
First game = )
Largest win = )
Largest loss = Flagicon|Argentina Argentina 8 - 0 Paraguay
World cup apps = 7
World cup first = 1930
World cup best = Round 2, 1986, 1998, 2002
Olympic apps = 2
Olympic first = 1992
Olympic best = Silver Medal, 2004 Athens
Regional name =
Regional cup apps = 33
Regional cup first = 1921
Regional cup best = Winners, 1953 and 1979
The Paraguay national football team is the national team of
Paraguayand is controlled by the Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol.The Paraguay national football team has reached the second round of the World Cup on three occasions (in 1986, 1998 and 2002) but has never advanced beyond that stage. Paraguay's only major tournament victories have come in the Copa América, in which they triumphed in 1953 and 1979. They also won a silver medal in the football tournament at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, being defeated 1-0 by Argentina in the final.
The beginning (1900-1930)
Soon after the introduction of football in Paraguay by
Williams Paats, the Liga Paraguaya de Futbol (today Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol) was created in 1906. The first national football team was organized in 1910 when an invitation by the Argentine club Hércules of Corrienteswas received to play a friendly match. Members of that first nationall team where F. Melián, G. Almeida, A. Rodríguez, M. Barrios, P. Samaniego, J. Morín, Z. Gadea, D. Andreani, C. Mena Porta, B. Villamayor, M. Rojas and E. Erico. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. [es icon http://www.albirroja.com/history/history2.html]
Because of the increasing number of invitations to play matches and international tournaments, the Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol decided to officially create the national team and select the striped red and white jerseys that until this date remain as the official colours (taken from the Paraguayan flag). In late 1919 Paraguay accepted the invitation to play the 1921 Copa America and in order to prepare for that occasion a number of friendly matches were played between 1919 and the start of the tournament in 1921. The first of those friendly matches was a 5-1 loss against Argentina, and it marked the first international game by the Paraguayan national football team. When the 1921 Copa America finally arrived, Paraguay surprised everybody by beating then three-time South American champions Uruguay by 2-1, being this the first match in an official competition for the Paraguayan football team. Paraguay eventually finished fourth in the tournament and became a regular participant of the tournament for the next editions.
In 1930 Paraguay participated in the first World Cup, organized by Uruguay. In the first round, Paraguay debuted and lost to the United States (0-3), to then defeat Belgium (1-0) with a goal by
Luis Vargas Peña. Only one team was to advance from the group stage, and the U.S. left Paraguay behind.
First taste of success (1930-1970)
The first big success came in 1953 when Paraguay won the
Copa Americadisputed in Peru. In their road to the championship, Paraguay defeated Chile (3-0), Bolivia (2-1) and Brazil (2-1); and tied against Ecuador (0-0), Peru (2-2) and Uruguay (2-2). Since Paraguay and Brazil were tied in points at the end of the tournament, a final playoff match was played between them, with Paraguay winning the final by 3-2. Key players of the campaign included Angel Berni, Heriberto Herreraand Ruben Fernandez. The coach was Manuel Fleitas Solich. [ [http://www.rsssf.com/tables/53safull.html Southamerican Championship 1953 ] ]
1958 World Cup, Paraguay surprisingly qualified ahead of Uruguay (beating them 5-0 in the decisive game) with a team that contained a formidable attacking lineup with stars such as Juan Aguero, Jose Parodi, Juan Romero, Cayetano Réand Florencio Amarilla. In their first game in Sweden, Paraguay were 3-2 up against France in a game they lost 7-3. A 3-2 win over Scotland and a 3-3 draw with Yugoslavia saw Paraguay finish third in their group.
The departure of several of their stars for European football (mainly
Spain) resulted in a weakening of Paraguay's football fortunes somewhat, but they were only edged out by Mexico in the 1962 qualifiers.
More continental success (1970-1990)
Paraguay fell short in subsequent World Cup qualifying campaigns, but
Copa Américasuccess (and that of one of its premier clubs Olimpia in the Copa Libertadores) in 1979 shored up Paraguay as a solid player on the continent.
The 1979 Copa América was won by Paraguay after finishing first in Group C (which had Uruguay and Ecuador as well) with two wins and two draws. In the semi-finals Paraguay defeated Brazil by an aggregate score of 4-3. In the finals, Paraguay defeated Chile by an aggregate score of 3-1 to claim its second continental crown. Players such as
Julio Cesar Romero(Romerito), Carlos Alberto Kiese, Alicio Solalinde, Roberto Paredes, Hugo Ricardo Talaveraand Eugenio Morelwhere an important part of the team, coached by Ranulfo Miranda. [ [http://www.rsssf.com/tables/79safull.html Copa América 1979 ] ]
Paraguay ended a 28-year absence from the World Cup in 1986 with a team starring Roberto "Gato" Fernandez in goal; Cesar Zavala,
Rogelio Delgadoand Juan Bautista Toralesin defense; Jorge Amado Nunesand Vladimiro Chetinna in midfield; midfield playmaker Romeritoand strikers Roberto Cabañas, Ramon Angel Maria Hicks and Rolando Chilavert(older brother of Jose Luis Chilavert). In first round matches, Paraguay defeated Iraq (1-0, goal Romerito) and then tied Mexico (1-1, goal Romerito) and Belgium (2-2, both goals Roberto Cabañas). They reached the second round where they were beaten 3-0 by England. [es icon http://www.albirroja.com/history/history6.html]
The golden generation (1990-2006)
In 1992, Paraguay won the South American Pre-Olympic tournament, which guaranteed a spot in the 1992 Summer Olympics football competition. In the Olympics, Paraguay finished second in its group and were eliminated by Ghana in the quarterfinals. The most important aspect of that Paraguay team was the emergence of new young players like
Carlos Gamarra, Celso Ayala, Jose Luis Chilavert, Francisco Arceand Jose Cardozo, which became part of the "golden generation" that led Paraguay to three straight World Cups and good performances in continental competitions, establishing Paraguay as one of the top teams in South America along Brazil and Argentina.
This new generation of players helped end the World Cup drought in grand fashion, as the Albirroja reached the France 1998 World Cup by qualifying in second place in South America behind Argentina. The first round matches were against Bulgaria (0-0), Spain (0-0), and Nigeria (3-1; goals
Celso Ayala, Miguel Angel Benitezand Jose Cardozo). Paraguay qualified to the second round (Round of 16) to be defeated in a thrilling match against would-be World Champions France. France only scored through Laurent Blancin the 114th minute, during the second half of overtime (making it the first golden goal scored in a World Cup). Paraguay's central defending duo (Carlos Gamarra and Celso Ayala) and goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert were selected for the all-star World Cup team.
Paraguay returned to the World’s greatest stage once more in the 2002 World Cup. In their first match, Paraguay tied South Africa 2-2 (goals:
Roque Santa Cruzand Francisco Arce). Paraguay lost to Spain in the second game (1-3) and finally defeated Slovenia (3-1; goals Nelson Cuevas, twice, and Jorge Luis Campos) to qualify for the second round. Germany ended Paraguay’s dreams in the World Cup with an 88 minute goal.
In 2006, Paraguay qualified for its third World Cup in a row. This time, two early defeats against England and Sweden (both 0-1) sent the team home early. The only consolation was defeating Trinidad and Tobago during the last and final group game by 2-0.
After the 2006 World Cup,
Anibal Ruizresigned as head coach and Raul Vicente Amarillawas assigned as the interimcoach. In 2007, Argentine Gerardo "Tata" Martino was designated as head-coach. The former Newell's Old Boys (Rosario, Argentina) skipper's coaching career had blossomed in Paraguay where he formerly coached Libertad and Cerro Porteño. He was a clear and logical choice for the Paraguayan FA.
Paraguay's current squad is undergoing a transition because of the retirement of key players such as
Carlos Gamarra, Francisco Arce, Celso Ayala, and goalkeeper José Luis Chilavert. Paraguay's under-19 side won the Milk Cupin 2002, 2003 and 2006, and players such as Nelson Valdez, Julio Dos Santos, José Montieland Oscar Cardozoare thought key to the re-building of the team.
The usual starting line-up during the qualifiers has been with:Justo Villar at goal; Roberto Bonet or Denis Caniza on the right, Da Silva and Julio Caceres in the middle, Claudio Morel on the left. In the midfield, "Topo" Caceres and Christian Riveros have been playing in the center, while Barreto and Jonathan Santana play on the outsides. Up front, it has been Salvador Cabañas, Roque Santa Cruz alternating with Cardozo and Nelson Haedo Valdez. Carlos Humberto Paredes is expected to return to the starting line-up in midfield in June.
World Cup record
*1930 - Round 1
*1934 - "Did not enter"
*1938 - "Did not enter"
*1950 - Round 1
*1954 - "Did not qualify"
*1958 - Round 1
*1962 to 1982 - "Did not qualify"
*1986 - Round 2
*1990 - "Did not qualify"
*1994 - "Did not qualify"
*1998 - Round 2
*2002 - Round 2
*2006 - Round 1
Copa América record
Roberto Miguel Acuña
Julio César Cáceres
José Saturnino Cardozo
José Luis Chilavert
*Roberto "El Gato" Fernández
Nelson Haedo Valdez
Carlos Humberto Paredes
Claudio Morel Rodríguez
Roque Santa Cruz
Juan Bautista Villalba
*flagicon|PAR Aurelio González
Manuel Fleitas Solich
*flagicon|HUN flagicon|ESP flagicon|SVK
Paulo César Carpegiani
Current team status
Paraguay is currently participating in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.
2010 FIFA World Cup
*2008 in Paraguayan football
* [http://www.apf.org.py/ Official site of the Paraguayan Football Association]
* [http://www.rsssf.com/tablesp/para-intres.html RSSSF archive of results 1919-2004]
* [http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/para-recintlp.html RSSSF archive of most capped players and highest goalscorers]
* [http://www.planetworldcup.com/NATIONS/par.html Planet World Cup archive of results in the World Cup]
* [http://www.planetworldcup.com/NATIONS/par_squads.html Planet World Cup archive of squads in the World Cup]
* [http://www.planetworldcup.com/NATIONS/par_qualify.html Planet World Cup archive of results in the World Cup qualifiers]
* [http://www.albirroja.com Albirroja Fansite (in Spanish)]
* [http://www.albigol.com Paraguayan Football Site]
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