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Paraguay v New Zealand

Santa Cruz hails 'best ever' Paraguay

June 23, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Roque Santa Cruz believes Paraguay's current crop of players are the best in the nation's history and insists they are determined to achieve their goal of reaching the quarter-finals.

Roque Santa Cruz paraguay
GettyImagesRoque Santa Cruz started in Paraguay's 2-0 victory over Slovakia

Paraguay - like a number of their South American counterparts - have impressed in South Africa, drawing their opening match against reigning champions Italy, before comfortably beating Slovakia in their second outing.

Gerardo Martino's side are in pole position to top Group F and face New Zealand - overachieving beyond their wildest dreams - in their final group game, knowing that only a win will gurantee a first-place finish.

And Manchester City striker Santa Cruz believes that his side's record in qualifying proves that they have what it takes to get to at least the quarter-finals.

"It is the best team Paraguay has ever had. We have been playing together for years and are very experienced and mentally strong," Santa Cruz said.

"Paraguay have never been to the quarter-finals. This is our goal and when we reach that, everything is possible. We have beaten Argentina and Brazil, two of the best teams in the world, to get here."