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Friday, June 16, 2006
Paraguay to seek fresh talent after early exit

BERLIN, June 16 (Reuters) - Veteran midfielder Roberto Acuna said Paraguay needed an injection of younger blood to rejuvenate the team after they lost their opening two matches without scoring and crashed out of the World Cup.

'In that way, the team would be able to find renewal, young people who can make a positive contribution to the game,' Acuna said after Sweden snatched a last minute 1-0 victory in their Group B match in Berlin on Thursday night.

The 34-year-old Deportivo La Coruna player, known as 'The Bull', said he would concentrate on club football but would still be available for the national side if required.

After losing their opening match 1-0 against England, Paraguay coach Anibal Ruiz had promised a more attacking approach against Sweden, but they were unable to penetrate a solid back line and were largely reduced to long range efforts.

The Swedes generally looked the hungrier side, with 57 percent of the possession and 10 shots on goal to a mere three for Paraguay, none of which seriously troubled goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson.

'Paraguayan football needs to be reorganised, there are a lot of young players out there,' defender Denis Caniza said.

Striker Roque Santa Cruz, who did not produce an effort on target and was substituted in the 62nd minute, was unable to fathom why Paraguay could not reproduce the form that secured qualification for their third straight World Cup.

'It is difficult to know why we have gone out because we weren't bad in either game,' the Bayern Munich forward said.

'The players' confidence was there. The team is sad because we feel that we have done enough in the game.'

Paraguay play Trinidad & Tobago in their final match on June 20 and could still influence the outcome of the group.

If they lose to Trinidad and England beat Sweden then the Caribbean team could still go through to the next round as long as they have a better goal difference.




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