|ESPNsoccernet: World Cup 2010|
A crowd of some 10,000 people, many carrying flags and sporting the Paraguayan soccer team's red, white and blue colours, gathered at the Defensores del Chaco stadium on Tuesday to pray for Salvador Cabanas, the striker who was shot on Monday.
• Cabanas shot in bar attack
Cabanas, a key player in Paraguay's World Cup squad, was shot in the head in a Mexico City bar and is critical though stable in hospital after surgery. The bullet is still lodged in his head.
The crowd sang songs, held hands and prayed for the recovery of the 29-year-old forward, who played for top Mexican club America.
"This is the most important match of his life and we must help him kick this penalty," fan Jose Escobar told a redio station while the crowd chanted "Salvador, Salvador" in the 35,000 capacity stadium. The Paraguay squad also attended a mass for Cabanas in the capital.
Meanwhile the neurologist who operated on Cabanas, Ernesto Martinez Duhart, says the condition of the player is improving.
"The evolution of Salvador's situations has been positive. He has been under sedation most of the time. However, we've noticed that he begins to awaken at the moments we reduce the sedation in order to assess his condition," he said. "He recognised his family and that is very satisfactory. The plan is to keep him under sedation for a while, so he can recover easier. His critical body functions are improving and we can only hope that his situation keeps evolving well."