Paraguay 0 – Ecuador 0
So we didn’t win our first game. The only consolation I find to this result is that we didn’t play poorly. We were actually pretty good and created at least 3 or 4 scoring opportunities. Ecuador proved to be a very difficult and dangerous team that will be very hard to swallow for others too.
There was just one surprise in our starting XI, and it was the inclusion of Ortigoza instead of Vera. This is how we entered the field:
Ivan Piris, Dario Veron, Paulo Da Silva, Aureliano Torres
Edgar Barreto, Nestor Ortigoza, Cristian Riveros, Marcelo Estigarribia
Lucas Barrios and Roque Santacruz.
Justo Villar: Slightly touched the ball in Ecuador’s clearest goal opportunity. He saved us and was solid in the rest of his interventions.
Ivan Piris: This was his Albirroja debut and it showed a little. As Martino said, people are used to seeing him play regularly at an excellent level for his club, but the Albirroja jersey weighs quite a bit more. Even though he did foul up some defensive play, he was solid other times speeding up down the side of the field. It was a very good debut for the 22 year old and I think he will get better adjusted as the tournament continuous.
Dario Veron: Rock solid, one of our best.
Paulo Da Silva: Played very well though he allowed a ball through his legs that led to Ecuador’s clearest goal opportunity. He also helped recover the ball in the same play.
Aureliano Torres: Can you help me? I did not see too much of him.
Cristian Riveros: He is always difficult for me to identify, though I noticed some good long balls by him in the 2nd half. Any help?
Edgar Barreto: He was doing well until he got hurt in the first half. He is likely to be out the rest of the tournament. He hurt the foot he endured surgery on before the World Cup.
Nestor Ortigoza: This is not one of my favorite players, but he was very active against Ecuador. He held the ball well and distributed play. He is one of our very few creative midfielders so he can make a very big difference if he is having a good day. He is not fast, so I’m worried he could be a defensive liability.
Marcelo Estigarribia: This player was definitely the revelation of the match. If he continues this high level of football, he has the potential to be the revelation of the tournament. As I believed, he was very active and attacked successfully. Two goal scoring opportunities came through him after he assisted Edgar Barreto first and Roque Santacruz later.
Roque Santacruz: I did not see him much during the first half, but our team relied heavily on him during the second half. His presence is comforting to the players in the midfield who know they can give him the ball and he will know what to do with it. He played mostly as a midfielder, and I think that is the only position we will see him play. He came close to scoring twice. First a long rang shot save by the goalie, then a well directed header the goalie miraculously saved.
Lucas Barrios: He was completely absent. He must have touched the ball three times. What is very worrying is that his partnership with Santacruz is poor, as if there is no chemistry. It looks like this game will cost him his position and Nelson Haedo will rightfully come on in the game against Brazil next Saturday.
I think it would be good to see Osvaldo Martinez rather than Pablo Zeballos come on at some point. He would be a good alternative for either Marcelo Estigarribia or Roque Santacruz since he is also one of our more creative players.
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