Betting Odds and Prediction for Spain v Paraguay – World Cup Quarter Final
Spain v Paraguay Betting Odds
There are signs that Spain are coming good, just at the right time. Probably the best thing which has happened to them at the 2010 FIFA World Cup was getting beaten in their opening match by Switzerland. No-one saw that coming of course, not even the Spaniards themselves, but it will have served a purpose. It will have been a visible and clear warning to Vicente Del Bosque and his men, that even the best sides are not infallible when it comes to football, and that they cannot afford any slip ups. They got their bad game out of the way early, and it will have put a rocket up them. If they were thinking that they were untouchable going into the tournament, then they had to rethink their mental approach to the tournament pretty quickly. They have done that, and pressed on solidly, and with a lot of conviction. There was nothing wrong with their game in the Switzerland defeat, as they have subsequently gone to play in exactly the same manner and at exactly the same tempo as they did in that game. Things just don’t go your way on certain days, and that is all that happened to Spain. That defeat has probably given them an edge over Argentina and Brazil, the other tournament favourites, as Spain have shown that they can respond to adversity. There is usually a moment in tournament football where a team has their backs against the wall. The aforementioned South Americans have not been troubled at all.
Spain had to face a very defensive and negative Portugal side in the last sixteen, and their patience eventually paid off when David Villa hit the winner just after sixty minutes. Spain enjoy throwing their full backs forward with Joan Capdevila and Sergio Ramos being a large part of the attack. It works well in a system in which Xavi and Andres Iniesta roam around on the flanks, and that means they can double up on the wings with the over-lapping full backs. This works as Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets control the centre of the midfield, and Alonso gets forward plenty himself, and combine all that with the two strikers on the pitch, and that is why Spain are such a force. They have a lot power going forward, but not only that, they have the ethos of a South American team in that they value the possession of the ball. They are the one team from Europe that can match South American opponents in terms of holding on to the ball and always having a man available. It is a great formation, and the players know it well, as the squad remains pretty much unchanged from the one which won the Euro 2008 Championships. Their star man is David Villa, who has shown why Barcelona were prepared to pay so much money for him. He is ranking among one of the most accomplished forward players in the world, as he drifts in from the left, often standing out hugging the touchline on the left hand side of midfield when Spain have the ball at the back. He covers an enormous amount of ground, and because of the fact that he drops so deep, he is very hard to track.
Spain are keen to keep their feet on the ground, as the hype which surrounds them keeps growing and growing. They do have problems with Fernando Torres not being at his sharpest, but they are more than able to compensate for that. Even when substitutes come on, Spain simply do break stride from their technically brilliant passing game. They play the way that football should be played, on the deck and with short quick passes. They are not afraid to go forward, and that is because they are so comfortable and confident when in possession, they back themselves to keep a hold of the ball. The Spanish defence really has not been tested by any team, and the only problems they have had have been long balls have been pumped down the middle. This is something that they may get from Paraguay, but again in this match, Spain will weigh heavily in the possession charts, and once you start commanding possession, then you are a lot more likely to win the ball. Progression for Spain against Paraguay would mean a semi final showdown against either Argentina or Germany. But is there any hint of an upset coming from Paraguay? Spain will probably need to exert a lot of patience again, and that is something which they do very well. There is no panic, they simply get the ball in the right places and let individual talent do the rest.
Spain World Cup 2010 Stats
Played: W3, D0, L1
Cards: Y1, 2Y0, R0
Shots/On Goal: 74/29 (#2 on overall chart)
Fouls Committed: 43
Total Passes: 2803
Passes Complete: 2265 (81% success rate #1 on overall chart)
Paraguay’s Antolin Alcaraz will be a key figure in holding up their defence when they face Spain in their quarter final match. Paraguay are a very well balanced side, all thanks to their very strong defence. Paraguay finished top of their group ahead, and then they played their way past a tight last sixteen match against Japan, winning on a penalty shoot out. Paraguay’s lean defence have only conceded one goal at the tournament so far, and that was goalkeeping error which allowed Italy to equalise during their opening South Africa 2010 group match. They are the next South Americans to take on the European Champions, as Chile attempted and failed against the Spaniards in the group stages. So what can Paraguay bring to the table? It is a little surprising that they are quite as defensive as they are, as they have some very good talent up front. The backbone of their team is the defensive midfielder Nestor Ortigoza who literally does an old fashioned sweeper’s role, but in front of the back four instead of behind hit. This is what makes Paraguay so strong at the back, as he doesn’t venture far from his back four, offering some excellent protection. Paraguay also tend to keep quite narrow on the pitch when they haven’t got the ball, inviting people to go around the outside of them, much in the vein of Uruguay. The South American nations look to have the edge at South Africa 2010, as they have found that fine balance between defence, attack, finesse and muscle. Paraguay are tough side which won’t be giving the big star names of Spain any room for complacency during Saturday’s match.
This is the first time that Paraguay have been at the Quarter Finals of the World Cup and they are not just there to make up the numbers. They are one of four South American representatives, and their third place finish in qualifying from the continent showed just how much they have progressed as a nation. It is because of the strengthening in defence which is making the South Americans so strong, as there is an extra level of competitiveness in them thanks to an arduous qualification campaign. While their defensive systems work so well, none of the South American teams participating at the 2010 FIFA World Cup have been short of firepower. Paraguay actually play three strikers up front, just like Uruguay do, with Roque Santa Cruz and Edgar Benitez (or Nelson Valdez) flanking Lucas Barrios. While everyone has to drop back and help out in the midfield, there is always at least one man left up top to hit with the long ball, something Paraguay do very well. They have two very gifted central midfielders in Enrique Vera and Cristian Riveros. They have a formation which could frustrate Spain, and while the South Americans will be underdogs, they will be chomping at the bit to take on one of the best teams in the World. Paraguay have probably been guilty of not creating too many chances, and their low goal tally of three during the tournament will reflect that. This is why a match against Spain, who won’t play defensively, may just work more in Paraguay’s attacking favour. They will perhaps have just that little extra space to express themselves, something which they didn’t have a lot of against Italy and Japan in particular. Sticking in there is the plan for Paraguay, and the longer they can make a nuisance of themselves, the more they should be able to disrupt Spain and look for openings to take for themselves. Not an easy task, but if they stick to their shape and not panic into pushing forward, then they could give a very good account of themselves. They will have seen Spain struggle for goals against defensive set ups, and just five goals in the tournament for the Spaniards will give Paraguay a great deal of hope.
Paraguay World Cup 2010 Stats
Played: W2, D2, L0
Cards: Y5, 2Y0, R0
Most Shots: Nelson Valdez
Top Scorer: Three players, 1
Shots/On Goal: 54/22 (#13 on overall chart)
Fouls Committed: 72
Total Passes: 2019
Passes Complete: 1365 (68% success rate #8 on overall chart)
Spain v Paraguay Betting Prediction: Paraguay +1 Asian Handicap Evens at BetFair
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