Today, Roque Santa Cruz, Salvador Cabanas, and Edgar Baretto come up against Argentina. Although both countries are through to the quarterfinals there is plenty at stake. The Group C winner avoids meeting up with Mexico, the Group B winner, and one of the hottest teams in this Copa. Argentina had a tough second round encounter in the last World Cup against El Tri, barely beating them 2-1. They probably fancy their chances against Peru a lot more, although one can say that this Copa has thrown up many unexpected results, so not much can be taken for granted.
The Albiceleste are behind the Albirrojas in goal differential, a +5 against a +7. Both teams have scored 8 goals a piece but the Argentinians have conceded more. So a win will help immensely.
Paraguay will try and prove that their solid wins against the US and Colombia was no flash in the pan against experimental squads but as an indicator of progress in South American soccer and who better than Argentina to test that theory.
Hernan Crespo will miss this match through injury and so will Diego Milito through suspension. This means that Carlos Tevez will get to start and a lot of Man Utd fans will be following this match as there is speculation that he may join Old Trafford. Rodrigo Palacio keeps him company. Riquelme and Veron have combined well in the midfield with the former having a great tournament so far with two goals and a hand in three others. In fact, the Argentina squad have been so good that they have not missed a low key Leo Messi. Pablo Aimar has also filled in admirably and he along with Fernando Gago should get the start against Paraguay.
Against the USA, the Paraguayans showed that their attack was not just Roque and Cabanas but they also have Oscar Cardozo and Edgar Barreto who have capitalized on scoring chances. This they admirably did against the error prone US and Colombian defenses. However, they will have a tougher time against the likes of Nicholas Burdisso, Javier Zanetti, and goalkeeper Abbondazieri.
Matches between both these countries have traditionally run close and the last four encounters have resulted in a win each for both countries and two draws.
Prediction: Argentina 2 Paraguay 1.