La Albirroja (the red and whites) have always been a very difficult squad to beat because they challenge every time. With a defensive style, they got to 4 consecutive World Cups. Their players are usually recognized because they endure long spells on the National Team. The Guaraníes legends Roque Santa Cruz, Nelson Haedo Valdez, Justo Villar or Paulo Da Silva seem ageless.
This time around the same pretorian guard is accompanied by talented young players like Derlis Gonzalez or Darío Lezcano who have breached into the starting XI with goals and good displays.
As strong as they are defensive, their weakness is the offensive gameplay or the lack of it. They don't produce enough scoring chances. Usually underestimated they always find the way to beat high caliber teams. After the failure to qualify for WC 2014, Paraguay started to rebuild, reached the semifinals of 2015 Copa America and currently they are in midtable of the qualifying campaign to Russia 2018.
Ramon Diaz, an Argentinian former international striker who played alongside Diego Maradona since their youths, got appointed as NT coach one year ago. He has put Paraguay back on track, working on the foundation of the veteran players and the emergence of young talents, who are surprisingly forwards.
THE OLD GUARD:
JUSTO VILLAR, a reliable goalkeeper who is playing the last chapters of his career, now in Colo Colo, of Chile.
PAULO DA SILVA. A rock-solid central defender who is strong but quick. Usually pursues forwards throughout the pitch.
MIGUEL SAMUDIO. A classic in Paraguay defenses for many years. He has taken the torch from Rivarola. Left back.
NELSON HAEDO VALDEZ. The veteran center-forward has played in Europe many years but now he is in the MLS. He used to partner Roque Santa Cruz in an offensive line that used to capitalize on the few chances they had. A legend in his country.
TONY SANABRIA. Bred in FC Barcelona junior teams, he didn't wait for his chance and moved to Roma. On loan at Gijon, scored 11 goals in La Liga.
DERLIS GONZÁLEZ. A right winger with everything you wouldn't expect on this team. Speed, dribbling skills and a knack for goals.
DARIO LEZCANO. The number 9 shirt of the future. Now in lower Bundesliga he will soon move to pastures new.
RAMON DÍAZ. Himself a center forward who was not a top scorer but ensured to score 10-15 goals per season. Grown at River Plate and later became the team's coach.Díaz received the mission to rebuild Paraguay and has done so in one year. The team is already a resilient competitive machine, who plays terrific defense and leaves no room for mistakes. The next step is to qualify for the World Cup Finals and in the meantime developing young players.