Paraguay V Spain Preview: Odds & Betting Tips – Saturday, 3rd July (Quarter-Final)

1st July 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup 2018 Betting Predictions
World Cup 2018 Betting Predictions


Paraguay V Spain Preview

Kick-off: Saturday, 3rd July – 19:30 GMT
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
World Cup Quarter-Final



Picking a successful dark horse is no easy feat, so congratulations are in order if you were clever enough to hand-pick Paraguay beforehand. However, the vibe inside camp is that the South American surprise package aren’t done just yet despite surpassing pre-tournament expectations by progressing as far as the quarter-finals, where a luxurious encounter against the reigning European champions awaits them. Both the coach and their celebrity forward, Roque Santa Cruz, have expressed their wishes to progress further in the tournament and indicated that there is still far more to come from their team-mates. But do the Paraguyans really have what it takes to knock the Spanish well and truly off their perch?

Paraguay have already set a new personal best just by making the last-eight, with their previous best merely a couple of Round of 16 appearances. The feeling within, though, is why should they let up now when the possibility of making the semi-final is strong despite the quality of their next opponent. If the South American’s are to go that step further, and it would be a pretty significant step as well, they need to pose more of a threat in the final third, as just three goals thus far is a poor tally and one that won’t strike any fear whatsoever into the Spanish ranks. The coach, Gerado Martino, has called for more goals, urging his star-studded forwards to pull their socks up for the good of the team, but as of yet the likes of Lucas Barrios, Nelson Valdez and Roque Santa Cruz, who all have the class and credentials to score at this level, haven’t performed.

Guranies topped a surprisingly exciting Group F above the 2006 FIFA World Cup winners Italy, as well as Slovakia and New Zealand. The confidence would have been oozing out of the players after such a momentous effort in getting to the top of the pack, but that early hype and euphoria seemingly diminished as nerves limited Paraguay against Japan. Martino’s men came across all sorts of problems breaking down a well-drilled Japanese defence, almost getting caught on the break as they pursued an opening goal. In the end, with neither side possessing that killer final ball of finish, it went down to penalties and it was Paraguay who kept their cool as they calmly fired home all fire of their spot-kicks. They’ll now have every confidence in their penalty taking ability should they manage to frustrate and nullifying the Spanish for 120 minutes, which in itself looks a huge challenge let alone beating Del Bosque’s charges without the need of a shoot-out.

It almost goes without saying that Paraguay need to offer a lot more up front if they’re to contest the right to play in the last-four of the competition, as while their defence has done remarkably well up till  now, with only Italy breaking through their rugged rearguard, they’ll do well to keep out a highly talented Spanish team. With that said, it does appear their best chance of winning this game is by defending stoutly and nicking a goal, either on the counter or from a set-piece. The call is for more goals, but the likelihood is Paraguay need some brave folk in defence is they wish to progress you feel, as well as some predator like finishing up the other end of the field.



It’s been well documented that Spain haven never won a World Cup before, not even contested a final in actual fact, but under Vicente Del Bosque they’ve found a squad capable of beating absolutely anyone on their day, as well as every tournament they participate in. They arrived in South Africa as European champions, but they came unstuck in the prep tournament when losing out to the United States in the semi-final. Then, for the first time in years, we began to see chinks in the Spanish armour and ever since we’ve seen a few more. For starters, they don’t cope well with all-out defence minded teams, which is a concern considering Paraguay have kept three cleans sheets in the competition so far. So how will they go about breaking down a stubborn South American side? And will they fall foul to another shocker?

Spain were the first team of the tournament to be on the receiving end of a shock result, losing 1-0 to Switzerland in Durban. That defeat actually left Spain on the brink of an early exit, leaving Del Bosque needing to mastermind back-to-back victories in order to make the cut for the Round of 16. In the end, Spain did so with something to spare. But, however, their reward for topping Group G was a last-sixteen tie with neighbours Portugal, who are another side with a fierce reputation for having a strong defence. Once again the Spanish struggled to find a way through a well guarded goal, and for moments looked as though they had no answer to the organised and disciplined two banks of four Portugal had set up. The difference in the end was David Villa, who has been their star performer all tournament in a team where a number of stars and influential figures simply haven’t brought their A-game to the table. Spain are fortunate enough to have a player of Villa’s calibre, someone who never shies away from the big occasion and is consistent as they come, but there’s only so far this guy can take them and unless other chip in with some assistance, Spain will come unstuck once more especially if Villa does have a rare off-day.

No-one will contest the fact that Spain should be favourites heading into this clash with Paraguay, as it’s a match they should win at a cantor on paper, regardless of their opponents mean defensive record of late. Spain have a better player in every position, from ambitious full-backs, midfield generals and deadly finishers, Spain have just about the perfect team. However, they are a side which can become frustrated when matters don’t go their way and were they to fire yet more blanks on Saturday, whose to say Spain won’t pay the price  for overcommitting like they did against the Swiss. Patience is the key against a team likely to defend resolutely throughout, and so long as Villa and Torres are given a bountiful supply of chances, the likelihood is a goal will be scored at some stage, and against a country which has a 50% failure rate when it comes to scoring at these finals, one goal may be all it takes. However, were they to grab it early in the game then the chances of Paraguay breaking out of their defensive shell are high meaning more space and gaps will be there for Spain to exploit.

Vicente Del Bosque has confirmed that under-fire forward Fernando Torres will start against Paraguay in what will probably be an unchanged starting eleven to that which overcame Portugal in the last round. In terms of suspensions, Xabi Alonso is the only player to receive a caution in these finals and would miss Spain’s next encounter should he pick up another on Saturday.


Match Odds:

Paraguay – 1.50 Bet365
Draw – 4.10 Boylesports
Spain – 8.50 ExtraBet


Our Betting Tip: Spain to WIN – 1.50 Bet365

The assumption that Paraguay will look to defend in large numbers is probably a safe one, although, from watching their performances up till this point, they don’t exactly look a side capable of quick counter-attacks. In fact, they look very reluctant at times to sprint into the oppositions half of the field and seem more to content to keep possession whenever possible, and against a team which know how to reorganise fast and quickly get back into rank, that’s a huge concern. The plus point is Spain haven’t dealt particularly well with set-plays so far in South Africa, with the normally reliable Iker Casillas a fumbling wreck. 

In our opinion, anything less than a comfortable Spanish victory would be a big surprise. Granted Paraguay have only conceded one goal, that coming against Italy, but they’ve faced either defensive or poor attacking teams up till now. Spain will ask so many questions of their defence that we just don’t see them having too many answers. If Spain grab that early goal they will go in search for right from the off, it will be curtains for Paraguay. The fact of the matter is, we, as well as the majority of punters, don’t see Spain not scoring at some point in 120 minutes and with that in mind, as well as Paraguay lacking the sort of guile and craft needed to break down a talented defence such as Spain’s, there’s only one viable outcome.

Recommended Bet: Spain to WIN by 3 Goals or More (Winning Margin) – 5.00 SkyBet


Current Paraguay v Spain Odds:


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* All mentioned odds were valid at the time of writing. Betting odds are subject to fluctuations. Please check the current odds with the respective bookmaker!

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