Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Paraguay vs Japan - Preview

Paraguay
v
Japan


14:00 GMT, June 29, 2010
Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria, South Africa

Japan's stylish and deserved victory over Denmark in the final group game has raised expectations that the nation can go further than they have before and reach the last eight of the World Cup.




The Coaches - Takeshi Okada and Gerardo Martino



Competition Stats

ParaguayJapan
GoalsCristian Riveros 1Keisuke Honda 2
AssistsKeisuke Honda 1
YellowsVictor C├íceres 2Yasuhito Endo 1



Japan player to watch: Yasuhito Endo. Much of Japan's success at this World Cup has been built on set-pieces, and Endo is one of the best exponents in the team. The 30-year-old, who was Asia's Player of the Year in 2009, is at the hub of the creativity in the side and has an excellent range of passing.
Paraguay player to watch: Enrique Vera. Vera's darting run from midfield to score Paraguay's opening goal in the 2-0 win over Slovakia has been one of the highlights of Paraguay's campaign so far. Though primarily a defensive player, Vera has the ability to weigh in with goals too.
Key battle: Keisuke Honda v Paulo Da Silva. Honda put in one of the best individual performances of the finals in dismantling a disorganised Denmark defence and once again he could prove to be the difference between success and failure for Japan. Sunderland defender Paulo Da Silva will have to be at the top of his game if he is to shackle Honda.
Trivia: Japan are one of the few teams to have success with the Jabulani. Honda and Endo both scored directly from free kicks in the 3-1 win over Denmark.
Stats: Of all the remaining teams, Japan have completed the fewest passes. They have 709 with a completion rate of 62%, compared to Paraguay's 69%.
Odds: Paraguay (2.10), the draw (3.25) and Japan (3.80) with Bet365. Paraguay are 3.75 to win by one goal.
Prediction: Japan have already surprised many at this tournament, but the strength of Paraguay's defence should be the difference.
But my prediction is Japan winning this match by a solitary goal.

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