International Friendly: Paraguay win dull North Korea contest

16th May 2010 | World Cup Betting category: Football World Cup News
Football World Cup News

Paraguay‘s FIFA World Cup preparations ahead of their stay in South Africa next month began with a friendly against a fellow World Cup competitor, North Korea.

76 places in FIFA’s Ranking separated the two nations before kick-off although the early stages made noticing the inferior team impossible, as North Korea enjoyed the opening 45 minutes without really carving out a clear opening. In fact, long range efforts were the call, with Kim Jong-Hun’s men often resorting to speculative efforts which, although weren’t a million miles away, was concerning that a team apparently good enough to make the finals of a World Cup can’t craft an opening through neat interchanging and team work.

In fairness, Paraguay, supposedly the superior nation, were surprisingly poor and mustered very little throughout. They too were reduced to speculative efforts, although they did improve in the second period and rattled the woodwork twice before a slice of good fortune went there way when a North Korea defender handled the ball inside his own penalty area gifting Roque Santa Cruz the chance to put Paraguay ahead from the spot. The Man City forward duly despatched the spot-kick with ease and class to put Paraguay 1-0 and send them on their way to a narrow 1-0 victory.

 

Positives/Negatives: The fact Paraguay weren’t at all threatening in the first period leads us to believe that with some steely determination and hard work, North Korea might somehow muster a draw in South Africa, although their extremely tough draw makes even that unlikely. We would rate their defending as pretty decent; well organised and disciplined. From an attacking sense, however, the Koreans were lethargic and severely lacked the creativity needed to shine at the highest level. Jong-Hun’s men were so often reduced to long-range efforts, leading us to believe that only a wonder-goal or two will stand them any chance of nicking a  shock result in South Africa.

After a slow start, Paraguay picked up the pace in the second half and finally got their act together. However, even though they upped their pace and the overall tempo of the game, chances were still few and far between. Gerado Martino’s team were often referred to as clinical during South American qualification and it wasn’t at all hard to see why, especially when they got the rub of the green near the very end with the penalty. Ever team needs some good fortune though in the big tournament, so perhaps Paraguay will charm their way through the rounds. Paraguay were at their most effective when breaking from defence bombing forward with pace, numbers and intent. The finishing, however, just wasn’t up to scratched.

 

Final Score: Paraguay 1-0 North Korea – Roque Santa Cruz (Pen)



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