Paraguay team mix of youth and experience

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Paraguay coach Anibal Ruiz combined youth with experience in announcing his 23-man World Cup squad.

Updated: February 25, 2007 11:40 IST
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Paraguay coach Anibal Ruiz combined youth with experience in announcing his 23-man World Cup squad. Ruiz insisted that only those players who had earned the right to join the team had been named as he took a veteran squad and added in young players. The most notable absence was forward Cesar Ramirez of Flamengo. "Those players who are bound for the World Cup are the same athletes who fought for Paraguay's berth in the qualifying process,'' Ruiz said. He added that 18-year-old standout Jose Montiel was among the younger players who made the team. If Montiel performs well, "surely he will play in three more World Cups to come,'' Ruiz added. Ruiz defended his choices to critics, saying the team has kept its base from the one that made the second round in South Korea and Japan four years ago. "A generational changeover has been made without any complications,'' Ruiz said. "We have many young assets who have the backing of those with more experience.'' Defender Denis Caniza, who currently plays for Cruz Azul of Mexico, and captain Carlos Gamarra, now 35 and playing for Palmeiras, are still with the team. Also returning are wingers Roberto Acuna of Deportivo La Coruna and Carlos Humberto Paredes of Reggina. Forward Jose Cardozo, the oldest of the veterans at 36, also is back. Among younger players, Bayern Munich's Santa Cruz is 25 and Haedo Valdez of Werder Bremen is only 22. Both are considered key to Paraguay's chances. The squad will soon travel to Aarhus, Austria, to begin pre-tournament training camp through June 5. Paraguay is competing in its third straight World Cup. Often lost in the shadow of Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay has made six World Cup appearances since 1934 and was knocked out in 1998 by champion France and in 2002 by finalist Germany. In Group B, Paraguay plays England on June 10 in Frankfurt, Sweden in Berlin on June 15, and Trinidad and Tobago in Kaiserslautern on June 20. Squad:Goalkeepers: Justo Villar (Newell's Old Boys), Derlis Gomez (Luqueno), Aldo Bobadilla (Libertad). Defenders: Denis Caniza (Cruz Azul), Carlos Gamarra (Palmeiras), Julio Cesar Caceres (River Plate), Delio Toledo. Zaragoza), Paulo Da Silva (Toluca), Julio Manzur (Santos, Brazil), Jorge Nunez (Estudiantes). Midfielders: Edgar Barreto (NEC Nijmegen), Roberto Acuna (Deportivo La Coruna), Carlos Humberto Paredes (Reggina), Julio Dos Santos (Bayern Munich), Christian Riveros (Libertad), Carlos Bonet (Libertad), Jose Montiel (Olimpia), Diego Gavilan (Newell's Old Boys). Forwards: Roque Santa Cruz (Bayern Munich), Nelson Haedo Valdez (Werder Bremen), Jose Cardozo (no club), Salvador Cabanas (Jaguares), Nelson Cuevas (Pachuca). (AP)

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