Coach says Paraguay must start taking their chances

POLOKWANE Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:56pm IST

New Zealand's coach Ricki Herbert (L) greets Paraguay's coach Gerardo Martino after their 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match at Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane June 24, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray

New Zealand's coach Ricki Herbert (L) greets Paraguay's coach Gerardo Martino after their 2010 World Cup Group F soccer match at Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane June 24, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/David Gray

POLOKWANE (Reuters) - Paraguay will have to improve their passing and start to convert chances if they want to make it through to the World Cup quarter-finals, coach Gerardo Martino says.

The Argentine-born coach was not pleased with Paraguay's performance in a disappointing 0-0 draw against New Zealand that was enough to take them into the last 16.

They now face Japan in the second round on Tuesday.

"We were not very mobile and we were quite inaccurate," he told reporters after the match. "We had a lot of problems in an area where we didn't expect, and that was in attack."

They were solid in defence though, conceding only one goal in three matches against Italy in the first game.

"I think Paraguay had an excellent aspect to the defensive part in the three matches, we were very good defensively," Martino said.

Paraguay, ranked 31st in the world by FIFA, topped Group F but managed just one win against Slovakia and scored only three goals despite a trio of top-class strikers in Roque Santa Cruz, Lucas Barrios and Nelson Valdez.

All three were on the field at the end of the New Zealand game and yet they failed to convert a number of opportunities.

RAISE GAME

Martino said the side would have to raise their game to get through to the quarter-finals.

Last 16 opponents Japan overpowered Denmark on Thursday, scoring three goals and have been transformed from the side that lost a series of friendlies leading into the tournament.

Santa Cruz said the players were not happy with their showing against New Zealand but the important thing was that they had made it through the group.

"Maybe today we had the feeling that we weren't altogether happy with ourselves .. we had opportunities and we should have put them away," he said.

"I think we were not as patient as we should have been."

Santa Cruz said a quarter-final berth would be a job well done for Paraguay but added that once they were there, anything was possible.

"We would have considered it a very good World Cup if we were to get to the quarter-finals, that for us is good enough and after that it is a dream," he said.

"But we have the wherewithal to make it further."

(Editing by Michael Holden)

Reuters Showcase

India Cricket Chief

India Cricket Chief

Former ICC boss Dalmiya returns as BCCI chief.  Full Article 

S&P on Budget

S&P on Budget

Budget shows commitment to keep fiscal deficit low - S&P.  Full Article 

Richie Rich

Richie Rich

Bill Gates tops Forbes rich list, Michael Jordan joins.  Full Article 

Mega Buy

Mega Buy

HP to buy Wi-Fi gear maker Aruba Networks for $2.7 bln.  Full Article 

Blogger's Murder

Blogger's Murder

Bangladesh says arrests main suspect in U.S. blogger Avijit Roy's killing.  Full Article 

Alleged Threats

Alleged Threats

Twitter, law enforcement investigate alleged Islamic State threats.  Full Article 

New Tour

New Tour

Pop icon Madonna announces dates for 'Rebel Heart' tour.  Full Article 

Lathmar Holi

In Pics: Lathmar Holi

Images of "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon in Uttar Pradesh.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage