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Paraguay news

Paraguay seeking to stifle Spain

June 30, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Goalkeeper Justo Villar has promised Paraguay will seek to constrict a stylish Spain side when the two teams compete in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final in Johannesburg.

Nelson Haedo Valdez and Justo Villar face the press
GettyImagesParaguay captain Justo Villar might be just a little bitter about his side's exit

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Reigning European champions Spain are favourites for the game after defeating Portugal in the second round thanks to a superbly-worked goal from David Villa, but in Paraguay they face a side that have conceded only one goal in four matches at the World Cup.

Gerardo Martino's side secured their place in the quarter-finals thanks to a penalty shootout win over Japan that was preceded by a stifling 120 minutes in Pretoria, and Villar, who plays his club football for Spanish side Real Valladolid, has warned Saturday's opponents to expect more of the same.

"We can't give them space," Villar said in a press conference on Wednesday. "They are a team who have a very good touch and who move the ball very quickly - if we give them just a little bit of space they will slap us in the face.

"Our football has always been about effort and our tactical setup, that is what our game is based up on. So, you are going to have a clash of two different kind of football. Their way is about creating and ours is more about stopping them and then taking our chances."

After an opening 1-1 draw with reigning champions Italy, Paraguay defeated Slovakia 2-0 and drew 0-0 with New Zealand to top Group F, prior to their spot-kick victory over Japan.

None of their forwards have scored in South Africa but Nelson Haedo Valdez, one of the attackers yet to make an impression, says an absent colleague is helping inspire the side to success at the World Cup.

Salvador Cabanas was the country's star striker in qualifying but missed the tournament after being shot in the head in a bar in Mexico City in January. Cabanas still has a bullet lodged in his head.

"We spoke to him last night [Tuesday] and he was happy to hear from us," Valdez said. "We keep in touch. It's always a great joy to hear him speak. He is always with us, even though he's not here. We pray for him before and after every match."