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Players of Paraguay celebrate the first goal against Colombia
© Getty Images

*FIFA World Cup™ finals history*

Paraguay took part in the very first world finals in Uruguay in 1930, and have since made seven more appearances at the game's showpiece event, the last of them coming at South Africa 2010. It was there that they achieved their best ever performance, reaching the quarter-finals before going down 1-0 to eventual champions Spain.**

The team
After missing out on a place at Brazil 2014, La Albirroja *are banking on a group of experienced players in their bid to return to the global elite at Russia 2018. Skippered by front man Roque Santa Cruz, *Los *Guaraníes *have a solid core of seasoned performers in Paulo da Silva, Justo Villar, Victor Caceres and Edgar Benitez, a quartet that will be crucial to their chances of challenging for qualification. *

*The coach
**Francisco Arce assumed the national team reins for the second time at the beginning of August 2016. His first stint at the Paraguay helm, for whom he played at the 1998 and 2002 FIFA World Cups, began in August 2011, and ended ten months later following a defeat against Bolivia in the nation’s failed Brazil 2014 campaign. Arce subsequently took Cerro Porteno and Olimpia to national league success in his native country, and was coaching Guarani when he received his second national team call.

The stat
22 -
The position occupied by Paraguay in the all-time FIFA World Cup table, courtesy of their record of seven wins, ten draws and as many defeats, equivalent to 31 points, the fifth-best tally in South America.

The former stars
Aurelio Gonzalez, Florencio Amarilla, Cayetano Re, Saturnino Arrua, Julio Cesar Romero, Roberto Cabanas, Jose Luis Chilavert, Roberto Acuna, Jose Cardozo, Francisco Arce, Carlos Gamarra, Salvador Cabanas