Jordan 2016 will be the third occasion on which Paraguay have graced the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. La Albirroja made their debut in the inaugural tournament, New Zealand 2008, where they failed to win a point and finished bottom of their group. Though they again failed to make it out of their pool at Costa Rica 2014, they did at least manage to draw one of their three matches.
Paraguay qualified for Jordan 2016 thanks to their third-place finish in the South American Championships in Venezuela. Victorious in their opening three games in Group A, against Chile, Peru and Argentina, the Paraguayans then lost to the hosts, advancing to the final phase as section runners-up. Following two further reverses, at the hands of Brazil and the hosts once again, La Albirroja took on Colombia with the third and final qualification slot at stake, and came from a goal down to win 2-1. The second-highest scorers in the competition behind Venezuela, with 17 goals in all, Paraguay also had the second-most prolific markswoman in their ranks: forward Jessica Martinez, whose ten-goal haul included two hat-tricks.
The lethal Martinez is one of three survivors from the squad that went to Costa Rica 2014, the others being goalkeeper Natasha Martinez and midfielder Camila Gonzalez. Their experience could prove vital in a side that is hoping to reach the knockout phase for the first time. Having only taken up his post in January, coach Nelson Basualdo now faces the challenge of bringing some balance to the side, with the Paraguayans having conceded 13 goals at the South American Championships, more than their two fellow qualifiers for Jordan 2016.