Roque Santa Cruz winning his fitness race

May 25, 2006

Paraguay coach Anibal Ruiz is confident that injured striker Roque Santa Cruz will be fit to face England in their World Cup opener next month.

Speaking after his side's 2-2 draw with Norway, Ruiz denied rumours the Bayern Munich star would be absent for the June 10 clash.

``I'm sure he'll be able to play,'' Ruiz said. ``But we won't hurry as we want him to play the whole World Cup.''

There are a number of injured players in the Paraguay squad, namely Julio Cesar Caceres, Carlos Paredes and Denis Caniza, and Ruiz admitted he was sweating on their fitness.

``We'll see what the doctors say,'' he added. ``But we want them to get to the World Cup in perfect condition.

``We know what they can give to us.''

Paraguay also face Sweden and Trinidad and Tobago in Group B in Germany.