Our football match prediction:
Messi-less Argentina will be looking to return to winning ways in the World Cup qualifiers when they host Paraguay at Estadio Mario Alberto Kempes. La Albiceleste shared the spoils with Peru on Friday and, as a result, they dropped to fourth position in the standings. A win over Paraguay could see Kun Aguero and Co. climb to second place in their qualifying group and, no doubt, the hosts will adopt an attack-minded approach in Friday’s football game. The Paraguayans have been struggling to find their best form of late and seeing that they failed to score in previous two qualifying matches against Uruguay (0-4) and Colombia (0-1) we predict that the visitors are going to return home empty-handed. When the two teams met at Copa America last year Argentina crushed Paraguay 6-1 and, taking everything into account, home win appears on the cards. In Leo Messi’s absence, all eyes will be on aforementioned attacker Kun Aguero.
Highlighted Player (Ezequiel Garay):
Ezequiel Garay is an Argentine defender who plays for Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg. Garay was born on 10 October, 1986 in Rosario, Argentina and he began his senior career at his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys. After making 14 league appearances for the Argentine outfit, Garay moved to Spain in 2005, signing a deal with Racing Santander. Real Madrid scouts quickly spotted the Argentine defender and on 18 May, 2008 he joined the Spanish giants. Garay made 31 league appearances for Real Madrid and in 2011 he signed a contract with Benfica. He played for the Eagles from 2011 to 2014 and then he moved to Zenit Saint Petersburg. In the 2016 summer transfer window he returned to La Liga, signing a deal with Valencia. Speaking of his international career, Garay was part of Argentine U-20 team that won the FIFA World Cup in Netherlands. The Argentine footballer made his debut for the national team on 22 August, 2007 in a 2-1 loss to Norway.
Highlighted Team (Paraguay):
Los Guaranies are the part of CONMEBOL confederation vying for glory at the international scene since 1919 and their debut loss to Argentina 5-1. Paraguay are regular participants at the Copa America winning the tournament on two occasions thus far, most recently in 1979. They came close to glory in recent editions of the tournament as they fell short in the final of 2011 to Uruguay, while they finished fourth in 2015. The most successful period of the Paraguay national team came under Argentine coach Gerardo Martino, who took Paraguay to the quarter-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup for the first time in history. Following the 2010 success, Paraguay failed to qualify for their fourth successive FIFA World Cup finals as they have also missed out on the third consecutive global championship held inside their own continent. Toluca FC centre back Paulo da Silva is the most capped player of the Paraguay national team, while former Bayern Munich and Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz is the team’s top scorer with 32 goals to his name.