Paraguay vs Japan Preview
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Paraguay’s knockout opponents will be group E runners up Japan. After looking at the performances of the latter, I would have to fancy them. One loss because of a freaky looking shot against the Dutch, along with two quite deserved wins puts them in great stead in my opinion.
They have one thing that Paraguay don’t have as well, a titanic playmaker like Keisuke Honda. Honda was absolutely sublime against an admittedly poor Denmark, and he has made himself a household name outside of Moscow and Japan. Japanese football is getting a name for itself anyway, shining brightly in a potentially difficult group which I fancied one of Denmark or Cameroon to qualify from.
However Paraguay are competing at their fourth world cup finals on the trot (like Japan) and there has been a feeling that they are progressing as a nation for a while.
This is Paraguay’s eighth appearance in the World Cup. Their best performance came in the very first version of the World Cup in 1930 when they stood ninth. They have failed to progress from the Round of 16 and this might be their best opportunity to do so.
They were drawn in Group F alongside Italy, Slovakia and New Zealand. Paraguay emerged on top of the group with five points. Drawing 1-1 with Italy, comfortably defeating Slovakia 2-0 and drawing 0-0 with New Zealand.
This is Japan’s fourth World Cup appearance and they co-hosted the tournament in 2002 with South Korea. They were knocked out by Turkey in the Round of 16 and this time around, Paraguay is not going to be an easy opponent.
They were second in their qualification group and they were drawn with Netherlands, Denmark and Cameroon in the Group E.The Blue Samurais did not find it hard to progress as they beat Cameroon 1-0 and Denmark 3-1 and only losing to Netherlands 1-0.
Paraguay and Japan have officially faced each other six times in the past and Paraguay have had the better of Japan.
2 – Wins – 1
3 – Draws – 3
1 – Losses – 2
7 – Goals For – 4
4 – Goals Against – 7
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Japan 2-1 Paraguay
Thanks to Scullion David for the match review and prediction.