May 24, 2013
Paraguay coach aims to surprise Argentina
Argentina have been warned to expect a surprise when they face Paraguay under new coach Gerardo Pelusso in a World Cup qualifier in Cordoba on Friday.
Bolivia, away against Ecuador at the Atahualpa in Quito (2100), have also changed coach, bringing back Spaniard Xabier Askargorta who steered them to their last finals appearance in the United States in 1994.
Colombia will be buoyed by the brilliant scoring form of striker Radamel Falcao Garcia at home in the tropical heat of Barranquilla (2030) against Uruguay, whose forward Diego Forlan has rediscovered his goal touch in the nick of time.
Peru, lowest ranked of the South American teams taking part in the qualifiers at 51, host Venezuela in Lima (0115 Saturday), while group leaders Chile have a bye.
Uruguayan Pelusso, with wide experience coaching club sides in South America, replaced Francisco Arce who was sacked with Paraguay on four points from five matches, level with Bolivia and one point above Peru.
Pelusso said trying to counter the threat of Lionel Messi was almost impossible but that surprise was on his side as Paraguay, quarter-finalists in South Africa in 2010, look to win a qualifier on Argentine soil for the first time.
"None (of our opponents) know who's going to play (in my team), how we're going to play or what formation Paraguay will have on the pitch," Pelusso said in a recent interview on the South American Football Confederation website.
"That will be the surprise factor, (whereas) everyone knows the other teams. Those who know me, have an idea of my style, those who don't will be in for a surprise," he said.
Argentina will be without holding midfielder Javier Mascherano and striker Sergio Agüero while playmaker Fernando Gago is doubtful through injury.
Mascherano and Agüero are suspended although the latter is nursing a knee injury and may also miss Tuesday's match in Peru.