PRETORIA - Another second-round finish
for Paraguay at the World Cup will be a big disappointment for
coach Gerardo Martino, who has set his heart on steering them
into uncharted territory.
"The second round is a long way from glory, at least what I
think of as glory," Martino said on Monday, the eve of the South
Americans' clash with Japan in Pretoria.
Martino said before the finals began that "a coach who
chooses to take charge of a national team does it for one of two
reasons, to stay in the job or go down in history, and I elect
the second option."
A fast-improving Japanese side, mobile in attack, stand in
the Argentine coach's way.
"They have varied the way they face matches, they're a very
quick team...they pass quickly from defence to attack," Martino
"They have midfielders who get into scoring positions and a
trio of forwards who, by all being different, make it more
complicated (to contain them)," Martino told a news conference.
"On the right they have a creative midfielder (Makoto
Hasebe), at number nine a midfielder whose position was
reinvented as a centre forward who is (Keisuke) Honda and
perhaps the true striker of the three plays on the left (Yoshito
"Their biggest virtue is the speed and precision with which
they take advantage of the spaces their opponents leave them."
Paraguay and Japan are both looking to get past the second
round for the first time. The Paraguayans have reached the last
16 stage for the third time in the last four World Cups.
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