Paraguay national football team
La Albirroja (White and red)
|Association||Paraguayan Football Association|
|Confederation||CONMEBOL (South America)|
|Head coach||Gerardo Pelusso|
|Captain||Paulo Da Silva|
|Most caps||Paulo Da Silva (111)|
|Top scorer||José Saturnino Cardozo Roque Santa Cruz (25)|
|Home stadium||Estadio Defensores del Chaco|
|Highest FIFA ranking||8 (March 2001)|
|Lowest FIFA ranking||103 (May 1995)|
|Highest Elo ranking||5 (1954)|
|Lowest Elo ranking||44 (August 1962)|
| Paraguay 1–5 Argentina
(Asunción, Paraguay; 11 May 1919)
| Paraguay 7–0 Bolivia
(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 30 April 1949)
Hong Kong 0–7 Paraguay
(Hong Kong; 17 November 2010)
| Argentina 8–0 Paraguay
(Santiago, Chile; 20 October 1926)
|Appearances||8 (First in 1930)|
|Best result||Quarterfinals, 2010|
|Appearances||33 (First in 1921)|
|Best result||Winners, 1953 and 1979|
The Paraguay national football team is controlled by the Paraguayan Football Association (Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol) and represents Paraguay in men's international football competitions. The team has reached the second round of the World Cup on four occasions (in 1986, 1998, 2002 and 2010). The 2010 trip also featured their first appearance in the quarterfinals. Paraguay's only major tournament victories have come in the Copa América, in which they triumphed in 1953 and in 1979.
South Africa 2010 was Paraguay's fourth consecutive trip to the World Cup final tournament, having previously qualified for the final at France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002, and Germany 2006.
The beginning (1900–1930) 
Soon after the introduction of football in Paraguay by Williams Paats, the Liga Paraguaya de Futbol (today Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol) was created in 1906. The first national football team was organized in 1910 when an invitation by the Argentine club Hércules of Corrientes was received to play a friendly match. Members of that first national team where F. Melián, G. Almeida, A. Rodríguez, M. Barrios, P. Samaniego, J. Morín, Z. Gadea, D. Andreani, C. Mena Porta, B. Villamayor, M. Rojas and E. Erico. The match ended in a 0–0 draw.
Because of the increasing number of invitations to play matches and international tournaments, the Asociación Paraguaya de Fútbol decided to officially create the national team and select the striped red and white jerseys that until this date remain as the official colours (taken from the Paraguayan flag). In late 1919 Paraguay accepted the invitation to play the 1921 Copa América and in order to prepare for that occasion a number of friendly matches were played between 1919 and the start of the tournament in 1921. The first of those friendly matches was a 5–1 loss against Argentina, and it marked the first international game by the Paraguayan national football team. When the 1921 Copa América finally arrived, Paraguay surprised everybody by beating then three-time South American champions Uruguay by 2–1, being this the first match in an official competition for the Paraguayan football team. Paraguay eventually finished fourth in the tournament and became a regular participant of the tournament for the next editions.
In 1930 Paraguay participated in the first World Cup, organized by Uruguay. In the first round, Paraguay debuted and lost to the United States (0–3), to then defeat Belgium (1–0) with a goal by Luis Vargas Peña. Only one team was to advance from the group stage, and the U.S. left Paraguay behind.
First taste of success (1930–1970) 
The first big success came in 1953 when Paraguay won the Copa América disputed in Peru. In their road to the championship, Paraguay defeated Chile (3–0), Bolivia (2–1) and Brazil (2–1); and tied against Ecuador (0–0), Peru (2–2) and Uruguay (2–2). Since Paraguay and Brazil were tied in points at the end of the tournament, a final playoff match was played between them, with Paraguay winning the final by 3–2. Key players of the campaign included Ángel Berni, Heriberto Herrera and Rubén Fernández. The coach was Manuel Fleitas Solich.
For the 1958 World Cup, Paraguay surprisingly qualified ahead of Uruguay (beating them 5–0 in the decisive game) with a team that contained a formidable attacking lineup with stars such as Juan Bautista Agüero, José Parodi, Juan Romero, Cayetano Ré and Florencio Amarilla. In their first game in Sweden, Paraguay were 3–2 up against France in a game they lost 7–3. A 3–2 win over Scotland and a 3–3 draw with Yugoslavia saw Paraguay finish third in their group.
The departure of several of their stars for European football (mainly Spain) resulted in a weakening of Paraguay's football fortunes somewhat, but they were only edged out by Mexico in the 1962 qualifiers.
More continental success (1970–1990) 
Paraguay fell short in subsequent World Cup qualifying campaigns, but Copa América success (and that of one of its premier clubs Olimpia in the Copa Libertadores) in 1979 shored up Paraguay as a solid player on the continent.
The 1979 Copa América was won by Paraguay after finishing first in Group C (which had Uruguay and Ecuador as well) with two wins and two draws. In the semi-finals Paraguay defeated Brazil by an aggregate score of 4–3. In the finals, Paraguay defeated Chile by an aggregate score of 3–1 to claim its second continental crown. Players such as Julio Cesar Romero (Romerito), Carlos Alberto Kiese, Alicio Solalinde, Roberto Paredes, Hugo Ricardo Talavera and Eugenio Morel where an important part of the team, coached by Ranulfo Miranda.
Paraguay ended a 28-year absence from the World Cup in 1986 with a team starring Roberto Fernández in goal; Cesar Zavala, Rogelio Delgado and Juan Bautista Torales in defense; Jorge Amado Nunes and Vladimiro Schettina in midfield; midfield playmaker Romerito and strikers Roberto Cabañas, Ramon Angel Maria Hicks and Rolando Chilavert (older brother of José Luis Chilavert). In first round matches, Paraguay defeated Iraq (1–0, goal Romerito) and then tied Mexico (1–1, goal Romerito) and Belgium (2–2, both goals Roberto Cabañas). They reached the second round where they were beaten 3–0 by England.
The golden generation (1990–2006) 
In 1992, Paraguay won the South American Pre-Olympic tournament, which guaranteed a spot in the 1992 Summer Olympics football competition. In the Olympics, Paraguay finished second in its group and were eliminated by Ghana in the quarterfinals. The most important aspect of that Paraguay team was the emergence of new young players like Carlos Gamarra, Celso Ayala, José Luis Chilavert, Francisco Arce and José Cardozo, which became part of the "golden generation" that led Paraguay to three straight World Cups and good performances in continental competitions, establishing Paraguay as one of the top teams in South America alongside Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.
This new generation of players helped end the World Cup drought in grand fashion, as the Albirroja reached the France 1998 World Cup by qualifying in second place in South America behind Argentina. The first round matches were against Bulgaria (0–0), Spain (0–0), and Nigeria (3–1; goals Celso Ayala, Miguel Ángel Benítez and José Cardozo). Paraguay qualified to the second round (Round of 16) to be defeated in a thrilling match against would-be World Champions France. France only scored through Laurent Blanc in the 114th minute, during the second half of overtime (making it the first golden goal scored in a World Cup). Paraguay's central defending duo (Carlos Gamarra and Celso Ayala) and goalkeeper José Luis Chilavert were selected for the all-star World Cup team.
Paraguay returned to the world's greatest stage once more in the 2002 World Cup. In their first match, Paraguay tied South Africa 2–2 (goals: Roque Santa Cruz and Francisco Arce). Paraguay lost to Spain in the second game (1–3) and finally defeated Slovenia (3–1; goals Nelson Cuevas, twice, and Jorge Luis Campos) to qualify for the second round. Germany ended Paraguay's dreams in the World Cup with an 88 minute goal.
In 2006, Paraguay qualified for its third World Cup in a row. This time, two early defeats against England and Sweden (both 0–1) sent the team home early. The only consolation was defeating Trinidad and Tobago during the last and final group game by 2–0.
After the 2006 World Cup, Aníbal Ruiz resigned as head coach and Raúl Vicente Amarilla was assigned as the interim coach. In 2007, Argentine Gerardo "Tata" Martino was designated as head-coach. The former Newell's Old Boys (Rosario, Argentina) skipper's coaching career had blossomed in Paraguay where he formerly coached Libertad and Cerro Porteño.
Paraguay's national squad underwent a major transition after Germany 2006 because of the retirement of key players such as Carlos Gamarra, Francisco Arce, Celso Ayala, and goalkeeper José Luis Chilavert. Paraguay's under-19 side won the Milk Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2006, and players such as Nelson Haedo Valdez, Julio dos Santos, José Montiel and Óscar Cardozo were thought key to the re-building of the team.
The renovated squad reached first place in the CONMEBOL qualifiers, and becoming the second CONMEBOL team to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, ahead of continental powers Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, and Chile. Paraguay defeated Brazil at home (2–0), defeated Chile and Colombia away (0–3 and 0–1), and tied Argentina in Monumental Stadium in Buenos Aires. Qualification was secured with a 1–0 win over Diego Maradona's Argentina on 9 September 2009, the first official Paraguayan win over Argentina.
On January 2010, a tragic head injury suffered in an assault forced Salvador Cabañas to abandon football for an unspecified period of time, which gave him no chance of making the final 23-man squad for South Africa 2010.
In their fourth consecutive World Cup appearance, Paraguay eventually reached the quarterfinals. Drawn into Group F along with defending champions Italy, Slovakia, and New Zealand, they opened their tournament with a draw against the Italians, holding them 1–1 thanks to a first-half goal from Antolin Alcaraz. In their second game, they beat Slovakia 2–0 with goals from Enrique Vera and Christian Riveros. Their final group match saw a goalless draw with New Zealand, clinching first place in Group F and setting up a date with Japan. Another goalless draw with the Japanese after 120 minutes went to penalties, which Paraguay won 5–3, advancing them for the first time in their history to the World Cup round of eight. In the quarterfinals they met powerhouses Spain, to whom they lost 1–0 in a game where a goal by Nelson Haedo Valdez was controversially called an offside by the referee. The game also featured each team being awarded a penalty, both of which were contained, first by Spanish keeper Casillas and then by Paraguayan keeper Villar (both were also team captains for the game).
The Albirroja arrived back from South Africa on Monday, July 5 at 3:30 AM. Upon arrival, they were greeted by over 3000 fans at the airport and were decorated by the President of Paraguay. Gerardo Martino announced that he would take some time to decide his future, although the Paraguayan FA has offered him a four year contract to continue at the helm. Roque Santa Cruz also announced that this would be his last World Cup, but that he may play one more tournament, the Copa América in Argentina in 2011. ESPN.com reports that Gerardo Martino will not return as head coach for Paraguay, however, he promised fans that he would help the team transition to the future and help the team select a new national team coach. Later, however, Martino decided to sign a new contract that will keep him in charge of the Albirroja until after the 2011 Copa América.
Results and Fixtures 
Recent and forthcoming matches 
Matches from the past 12 months as well as any future scheduled matches.
See also 2012 Paraguay national team results.
See also 2013 Paraguay national team results.
|Friendly April 25, 2012||Guatemala||0 – 1||Paraguay||Guatemala City, Guatemala|
|20:30 UTC-3||Template:Ricardo Mazacotte 7'||Stadium: Estadio Mateo Flores
|2014 WCQ June 9, 2012||Bolivia||3 – 1||Paraguay||La Paz, Bolivia|
|16:00 UTC-4||Peña 9'
Escobar 69, 80'
|Report||Riveros 81'||Stadium: Estadio Hernando Siles
Referee: Roberto Silvera
|Friendly August 15, 2012||Paraguay||3 – 3||Guatemala||Washington, D.C., USA|
|Stadium: Robert F. Kennedy Stadium
|2014 WCQ September 7, 2012||Argentina||3 – 1||Paraguay||Córdoba, Argentina|
|Stadium: Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes
|2014 WCQ September 11, 2012||Paraguay||0 – 2||Venezuela||Asunción, Paraguay|
|Stadium: Estadio Defensores del Chaco
|2014 WCQ October 12, 2012||Colombia||2 – 0||Paraguay||Barranquilla, Colombia|
|Stadium: Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez
|2014 WCQ October 16, 2012||Paraguay||1 – 0||Peru||Asunción, Paraguay|
|Stadium: Estadio Defensores del Chaco
|Friendly November 14th, 2012||Paraguay||3 – 1||Guatemala||Luque, Paraguay|
|Stadium: Estadio Feliciano Caceres
|Friendly February 6, 2013||Paraguay||3 - 0||El Salvador||Asunción, Paraguay|
|Stadium: Estadio Dr. Nicolás Leoz
|2014 WCQ March 22, 2013||Uruguay||1 – 1||Paraguay||Montevideo, Uruguay|
|19:00 UTC-3||Stadium: Estadio Centenario
Referee: Wilmar Roldán
|2014 WCQ March 26, 2013||Ecuador||4 – 1||Paraguay||Quito, Ecuador|
|16:00 UTC-5||Stadium: Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa
Referee: Sandro Ricci
Win Draw Loss
Current squad 
Caps and goals current as of March 26, 2013.
Recent call-ups 
Previous squads 
Most caps and top scorers 
Most caps 
Top scorers 
Tournament records 
Head to head 
World Cup record 
|FIFA World Cup record|
|1934||Did Not Enter|
|1954||Did Not Qualify|
|1962||Did Not Qualify|
|1986||Round of 16||13th||4||1||2||1||4||6|
|1990||Did Not Qualify|
|1998||Round of 16||14th||4||1||2||1||3||2|
|2002||Round of 16||16th||4||1||1||2||6||7|
|2014||To Be Determined|
- *Denotes draws include knockout matches decided on penalty kicks.
Olympic Games record 
Copa América record 
Pan American Games record 
- 1951 – Fifth place
- 1955 to 1983 – Did not compete
- 1987 – Round 1
- 1991 – Did not compete
- 1995 – Quarter-Finals
- 1999 – Did not compete
- 2003 – Round 1
- 2007 – Did not compete
- 2011 – Did not qualify
See also 
- Paraguay women's national football team
- Paraguay national under-20 football team
- Paraguay national under-17 football team
- Paraguay national futsal team
- Football in Paraguay
- Since 1992, squads for Football at the Summer Olympics have been restricted to three players over the age of 23. The achievements of such teams are not usually included in the statistics of the international team.
- (Spanish) http://www.albirroja.com/history/history2.html
- Southamerican Championship 1953
- Copa América 1979
- (Spanish) http://www.albirroja.com/history/history6.html
- "Veron sees red as Argentina crash again". ESPN. 2009-09-09. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- Soccer player who was shot in head out of ICU, The Associated Press, 17-02-2010
- Official site of the Paraguayan Football Association
- RSSSF archive of results 1919–2004
- RSSSF archive of most capped players and highest goalscorers
- Planet World Cup archive of results in the World Cup
- Planet World Cup archive of squads in the World Cup
- Planet World Cup archive of results in the World Cup qualifiers
- Paraguayan Football Site
|South American Champions
1953 (First title)
|South American Champions
1979 (Second title)