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Paraguay vs New Zealand Odds and Prediction for World Cup Match

Paraguay go into their final group game with New Zealand knowing that a draw would be good enough to send them into the knockout stages of South Africa 2010. Ricky Herbert’s New Zealand team have already shocked World Cup fans by claiming a draw against World Champions Italy. A win here could send New Zealand into the second round of a highly unpredictable 2010 World Cup.

While a draw would see Paraguay through to the next round, their chances of progressing beyond the second round of the competition might hinge on victory here. If Paraguay wins, they will definitely top the group and that should offer them the motivation to go for victory, as a game against Denmark or Japan awaits the group winners, as opposed to a game against Holland for the team that finishes second.

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Paraguay vs New Zealand Odds:

Paraguay (-217)
New Zealand (+819)
Draw (+343)

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It’s worth noting that Paraguay have progressed to the second round of the World Cup on three of their last four appearances, so their good performances to this point will not come as a shock to those knowledgeable about the game. Paraguay have played some attractive soccer and created numerous chances in their opening two games. Two areas that will concern Gerardo Martino and his coaching staff most are their finishing and their fitness levels.

With Roque Santa Cruz just returning to full fitness, Paraguay lack a potent goal scorer to finish off the chances created by talented midfielders Christian Viveros and Enrique Vera. In the first half against Italy, Paraguay played some solid possession football and seemed to be able to fend off the majority of the Italian attacks with ease, but as the game went on, the Paraguayan players, the defenders especially, started to tire and that’s when Italy took over and scored their equalizer after a goalkeeping mistake by Justo Villar. While they should have little trouble against New Zealand and thus comfortably make the second round, if Paraguay are to progress to the quarter-finals for the first time in their history, they will need to hold their concentration for 90 minutes and prevent errors from creeping into their play.

New Zealand Coach Ricky Herbert is destined to be a national hero no matter what happens here against Paraguay. The All Whites have outperformed everyone’s expectations so far in a competition where just being a part of the action was cause for celebration back home. The fighting spirit and hardworking attitude of Ricky Herbert’s players has offered a welcome contrast to some of the in-fighting and poor performance levels of the more illustrious teams at South Africa 2010.

Legendary performances from the likes of midfielder Shane Smeltz, defender Winston Reid and Captain Ryan Nelson have been the highlight of many neutral’s tournament and if New Zealand could win this game and qualify for the knockout stages, it would surely represent the biggest shock in World Cup history.

Mark Paston in the New Zealand goal is once again expected to be one of the busier players on the field and will have to repeat his superb performance against Italy for the All Whites to stand a chance of once again pulling off another upset. The odds are against them, but this is a team that is very well adept at playing the role of underdog.

This is a group where few goals have been scored, and that trend will likely continue here. Set pieces will be pivotal in the game and one goal either way will settle it. Paraguay are the favorites, and so that makes them the easy pick. Despite the superior energy levels of the New Zealand team, Paraguay are much quicker going forward than either Italy or Slovakia and that should help them overcome the All Whites comfortably in their final Group F encounter.

Paraguay vs New Zealand Match Prediction: Paraguay 1 -0 New Zealand

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