Paraguay: The Little Nation That Accomplishes So Much

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Paraguay is one of the poorest countries in the world. Additionally, unlike many other poor nations it has only about 6 million residents. Despite being in Latin America, Paraguay should not be a football powerhouse.

Even from a business and investment sense, Paraguay seems to be left behind in the recent surge of western business interest in South America. Asuncion, the capital has not developed into the kind of business center other South American capitols are, and the economy remains heavily agrarian and backwards.

But after last night’s 1-0 victory over Argentina in Asuncion, the Paraguay National Team has advanced to its fourth consecutive World Cup finals.This run which began with world superstars José Luis Chilavert, Francisco Arce over a decade ago, just keeps rolling against the longest of odds.

Nelson Cuevas, Roque Santa Cruz, Salvador Cabanas, José Montiel and Óscar Cardozo have continued this tradition begun in qualifying for the 1998 tournament. Paraguay advanced to the second round in 1998 and 2002 losing to eventual finalists both times, and since have qualified for the 2006 and 2010 tournament.

Without a great football infrastructure of its own, Paraguay has taken the best of Argentinian, Brazilian and Uruguayan football and meshed it together into a winning package. Paraguay is a remarkable story, in fact one of a kind in world football.

Hopefully, the story will be told more and more as World Cup 2010 approaches.