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2010 World Cup Preview: Paraguay

The Team: Paraguay deserves props for qualifying for the biggest tournament on Earth despite its relatively small population. But, you don’t medal for having a great story and then losing. You don’t get a medal for acting like a doormat for the good teams. No, you definitely don’t get a medal for sucking. Yet, Paraguay has done that at the World Cup before eight times. The furthest they have ever gone is the second round (which they’ve done 3 times).

The Cream: To get past that first knockout match, Paraguay is going to have to play perfectly. Who will have to perform flawlessly in the field in order for Paraguay to escape their usual fate? Roque Santa Cruz will need to revive his reputation up top, Riveros will need to patrol the middle like a policeman, Caniza will need to snuff opponents’ attacks, and Villar will need to be pleasing between the pipes. Ten more guys will also need to do absolutely everything right.

The Dream: Yep, for Paraguay to win, they have to play like the best team because they clearly are not the best team. What I mean by that is Paraguay must execute perfectly because virtually every other team has more talent. I like this team as one of my sleeper squads for 2010 though, and I will tell you why. They have several really strong young players who have played together for awhile. But, young talent doesn’t win you medals either though.

So I’ll put their odds at 66:1…

Oh yeah, and that young talent I was talking about did win them one medal.

A silver one @ the 2004 Olympics (lost to ARG).

Those guys are in their primes now, so I’d bet on little Paraguay if given big odds.