Paraguay v New Zealand Preview: Tips & Betting Odds – Thursday, 24th June (Group F)
Paraguay v New Zealand Betting Odds
Paraguay can seal top spot in Group F with a win against the World Cup minnows New Zealand. Paraguay were always a threat coming into the competition and after holding Italy to a draw in their first match, they laid a solid foundation for their progression through the tournament. Paraguay will count themselves a little unlucky that they did not beat Italy, as only a goalkeeper error allowed the Italians an equaliser in a match in which the defending champions looked below par in terms of creativity. Paraguay have a good balance in their side, and they are able to rotate and use their forwards to great effect. They are not short of power up front with the likes of Roque Santa Cruz, Nelson Valdez and Lucas Barrios in the hunt for goals. They also have good options off the bench as well, and with a creative midfield that Italy wished they had, Paraguay could cause a lot of teams a lot of problems. The next step in their development as a team, is to secure top spot by triumphing where both Slovakia and Italy failed, and beat New Zealand.
Paraguay simply need to focus on doing what they do well, and that is passing and moving. There was some surprise that they did not push further forward against Italy in their opening match, but that could be understood as no team wants to lose their opener. But as shown in their second match where they comfortably outplayed Slovakia 2-0, they can produce the good when switching to attacking mode. The Paraguay defence has tightened up a lot, and that will serve them much better under Gerardo Martino. There is a confidence about the team, and they seem to comfortable on the ball and quick to break when the opportunity presents itself. Martino took six forwards with him to South Africa 2010, and that highlights the nature of Paraguay. While defensive duties still need to be done, you look over their squad and see some good attacking options from midfield like Enrique Vera and Cristian Riveros, who scored the goals against Slovakia to give the South Americans three points. After getting their toughest game out of the way first, Paraguay are a side which should grow in stature. This will be confirmed with a win against the New Zealanders, whose efforts and heroics may have just taken too much out of them.
Paraguay World Cup 2010 Stats
Played: W1, D1, L0
Cards: Y2, R0
Most Shots: Nelson Valdez, 4
Top Scorer: Three players, 1
Shots/On Goal: 19/6
Fouls Committed: 33
Total Passes: 938
Pass Completion: 65%
New Zealand were the rank outsiders of the tournament, but here they are with a chance of getting through to the second round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Betting would have had them nowhere near doing so, but it is to their battling credit that they have stuck around and made a good nuisance of themselves. They snatched a late equaliser against Slovakia to earn their first point, and then shocked Italy by taking the lead against the current World Champions. Although they could not hold out for the entire match, ending it in 1-1 draw, it still represents their best World Cup result ever. Maybe they will not be taken quite so lightly in the future, as with a win, they may be able to progress through to the last 16 of the tournament, dependant upon what happens in the Italy v Slovakia game. Group F is wide open and there is everything to play for. New Zealand do not have the overall skill to match Paraguay, but they will dig deep, defend well and throw long balls forward whenever they get the opportunity. That is the one thing which Paraguay do not need to do against the Kiwis, as their best chances will come from pulling the New Zealanders out of position with their passing and moving game. The New Zealand defence stood up well to the long balls Italy were throwing at them, capably helped out by keeper Mark Paston.
New Zealand World Cup 2010 Stats
Played: W0, D2, L0
Cards: Y5, R0
Most Shots: Shane Smeltz, 4
Top Scorer: Shane Smeltz, Winston Reid, 1
Shots/On Goal: 11/3
Fouls Committed: 42
Total Passes: 731
Pass Completion: 61%
Asian Handicap Betting Tips. Naturally you would lean towards Paraguay winning this one, not only because they are a much better team, but because fatigue and stamina may be the Kiwis downfall in their final group match. Fitness plays a big deal at the World Cup, and Paraguay who performed so well in South American qualification will have it in spades. The balance and set up of the Paraguay side will be far too much for the New Zealanders, and therefore you could back the South Americans in a minus quite comfortably. Yes, the Kiwis held Italy, but that was a completely different game.
Paraguay -1.75 for 2/1 at Bet365
Current Paraguay V New Zealand Odds: