Saturday, 27 February 2010

Paraguay - Why I'm supporting Paraguay in the World Cup

Well, the main reason is because Ireland aren't playing (thanks Thierry!) I'm not a big fan of football, but I do enjoy watching the World Cup. Like most Celts, I've always operated an ABE (Anyone but England) policy, however I think that's a tradition that's got out of hand and even become somewhat offensive to English fans. I prefer a STU policy (Support the Underdog), which means not supporting England, France, Brazil or the bigger teams in general. I've ardently supported Croatia and Cameroon in the past.

In terms of underdogs, Paraguay is a good choice and, I'm beginning to believe that they genuinely have a shot at World Cup glory. Paraguay has qualified for the World Cup no less than 8 times and they've got through to the second round three times, in 1986, 1998 and 2002. They always seem to come second in their group and they always seem to get knocked out by one of the big European teams.

In 1986 they came second in Group B, behind the hosts Mexico, but were knocked out in second round by England in Mexico City. In 1998 they came second in Group D, ahead of Spain, but were knocked out by France in the round of 16 (second round) in Lens. France went on to win the tournament.

In 2002 Paraguay came second in Group B, being knocked out by Germany in the second round in Seogwipo, Jeju-Do, South Korea. Germany went on to take second place in the tournament. In the FIFA World Cup 2010, Paraguay has been placed in Group F with Italy, New Zealand and Slovakia. Their first match, which is against Italy, will take place in Cape Town on the 14th of June.

I predict that they will come second in their group, behind Italy, which means they will go on to play the winner of Group E, possibly the Netherlands. Then we'll see whether or not history repeats itself, I'm rooting for Paraguay to get to the third round.

One of Paraguay's top scorers is Roque Santa Cruz. He played for Bayern Munich for many years and was voted the sexiest footballer taking part in the last FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2006, by the German-language version of Kicker magazine. After a short spell with Blackburn Rovers, he now plays for English Premier League team, Manchester City. If nothing else, at least Paraguay will have the world's sexiest player on their side!

Image credits

The image of the FIFA World Cup 2010 poster has been provided through flickr by Shine 2010 - 2010 World Cup Good News which is an initiative set up by Chris Onderstall, in Johannesburg, and provides a forum for South Africans (and others?) to meet an discuss the upcoming World Cup tournament - check out their website http://www.shine2010.co.za/
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