Paraguay boss Gerardo Martino revealed striker Roque Santa Cruz will not be fit enough to start tomorrow's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against Chile.
Leaders Paraguay, who have 24 points after 12 games, host Marcelo Bielsa's side, who are third with 20, as the teams look to seal their ticket to South Africa. "Sadly for this match Roque and Jonatan (Santana) won't be able to play from the beginning as they have not fully recovered form their injuries," said Martino. "However, I'll wait until the last minute to see if they can be used as substitutes."
"They are a pacy squad, very precise and they link up well all over the field," the coach said about Chile. "I'm sure we'll have to do a great job to win the ball and then find a way to hurt them. We're not at Chile's level in terms of controlling the ball. I want us to do something similar to them. Our success depends on the solidarity of the squad and being solid in defence."
Sadly for this match Roque and Jonatan (Santana) won't be able to play from the beginning as they have not fully recovered form their injuries.
Chile coach Bielsa confirmed that forward Humberto Suazo has recovered from an injury and will be able to play from the kick-off. "He's ready to play," said Bielsa. "He's in good shape. There are six points in the balance and we want to win all of them. I'm hopeful about the Paraguay game. Matches like this are great to play in and facing the leaders away should motivate us."
After destroying Argentina 6-1, Bolivia want to consolidate their improvement when they host Venezuela. Midfielder Leonel Reyes stressed the win against Argentina is in the past and the team must focus on Venezuela. "Every match is different and this will be very difficult," he said. "For us it will be important to do things right and continue down the right track."
Bolivia are ninth in the 10-team table with 12 points, with Venezuela just one point above them. Venezuela boss Cesar Farias believes his side can still reach South Africa but knows they must return to Venezuela with the three points if they are to have any chance. "I'm confident that we're going to fight against Bolivia and we're going to take a victory home so we can continue to think about the World Cup," he said. "That's what we're working for and it's not impossible."
Elsewhere tomorrow, Argentina host Colombia and Uruguay welcome Brazil.