JOAHNNESBURG - Paraguay will focus on
thwarting the Spanish midfield's customary dominance of
possession in their World Cup quarter-final at Ellis Park on
Saturday, said coach Gerardo Martino.
The European champions typically control the ball for 65-70
percent of matches, Martino told a news conference on Friday,
and Paraguay would try to close down players like Xavi and
Andres Iniesta, win the ball and hit Spain on the break.
"Tomorrow's match is not so much about improving the passing
in our midfield but to keep Spain from passing it around," said
Martino, whose unfancied side have only conceded one goal in
open play in four matches in South Africa.
"It'll also be about who has the stamina, the fight, the
heart and the ability to make the most of the scoring chances,"
the Argentine added.
Paraguay have reached the quarter-finals for the first time,
having previously lost to European opponents three times in the
Martino acknowledged it would be a stiff task preventing
David Villa adding to his tally of four goals, with the Spain
striker in blistering form even as attack partner Fernando
Torres has flopped on his return from knee surgery.
"It is certainly very difficult to neutralise such a player
who is on such good form," Martino said of Villa.
"He has this enormous goalscoring capacity and very few
attackers have that kind of determination.
"But we will take steps to ensure he cannot be decisive in
tomorrow's match the way he has been in previous matches."
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