Paraguay coach Ramon Diaz said his side’s refusal to lose was the main reason they were garnering respect, as they advanced to the Copa America semi-finals.
Diaz’s men have gone undefeated on their path to the last four in Chile – beating Jamaica 1-0 and drawing 2-2 with Argentina and 1-1 with Uruguay in the group stages, before beating Brazil on penalties on Saturday after a 1-1 stalemate in Concepcion.
In all of those draws, they have arrested a deficit – most thrillingly against the Argentines, when they came from 2-0 down.
They join Argentina and Chile among the sides yet to lose in the tournament, and have a date with Gerardo Martino’s men back in Concepcion on Tuesday.
“The players, the directors, everyone here is very happy,” Diaz told a news conference.
“This is very important for us – a great step to carry on believing in this project.
“We have played Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil – and none of them have been able to beat us.
“You have to have a lot of respect for this team. The players have shown the fans just what they are capable of doing.”
Former River Plate coach Diaz now meets his compatriots again in the semi-finals and he said: “Argentina are the best national team in the world. We know them well and there won’t be much time to enjoy this special moment.”
In the meantime, however, Paraguay have more than fulfilled their objective in this competition and are in the last four for the second edition in a row, following on from their run to the final in 2011 – when they lost to Uruguay.
“We are very happy with the game we played,” Diaz said. “It’s a great satisfaction.
“At the end of the match we looked to push Brazil back with the changes that we made and we could have scored another goal.
“Both teams were trying to score; it was exciting and we were lucky enough to go through.”
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