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FIFA World Cup Qualifying Preview: Paraguay v Chile

SoccerNews in World Cup 6 Jun 2013

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Chile will hope to strengthen their grip on fourth place in their CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying group with a victory over Paraguay.

The two sides meet in Asuncion on Friday for the 12th fixture of their campaign with the visitors looking the more likely to reach Brazil 2014.
Chile occupy the final automatic qualification spot in the group behind Colombia, Ecuador and leaders Argentina, but have won just once in their last five competitive matches and are only ahead of Venezuela on goals scored.
Paraguay, meanwhile, have won just twice in their opening 11 matches and find themselves one point adrift at the foot of the table, seven points behind Chile.
Gerardo Pelusso’s side must win to give themselves a chance of reaching a fifth consecutive World Cup finals, but with only five games remaining the task ahead of them is becoming increasingly difficult.

The recent record between the two nations could not be closer, with both sides having won four matches each in their last ten meetings and the other two clashes ending in draws.

Paraguay will be hoping that they can record their first victory against Chile since 2007 and will need Oscar Cardozo to continue his club goalscoring form if they are to do so.
The 30-year-old striker scored 26 goals for Benfica this season but his record for Paraguay is far from impressive. He has only scored nine goals in 46 appearances, and hasn’t found the back of the net since August 2012.
All-time Paraguayan top goalscorer Roque Santa Cruz will also be present for Pelusso’s side, though he has not netted for his country since July 2011.

Chile’s attacking options appear to be much stronger, although they do not have an out-and-out goalscorer either.
Their main threat comes in the form of Alexis Sanchez, but the forward is far from a regular at Barcelona and so could be lacking match fitness.
That said, the 24-year-old has scored three goals in his last four matches for the Catalan club, and played a significant role in them regaining the Liga title in 2012-13.

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