Where: Mario Alberto Kempes, Cordoba, Argentina
When: Friday, Sept. 7 at 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: Bein Sport 2 USA
Argentina and Paraguay are currently on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to 2014 World Cup qualifying.
Through five matches, Argentina has 10 points (3-1-1), third place in qualifying. Paraguay has four points (1-1-3), eighth among nine teams in the competition.
Argentina, of course, boasts Lionel Messi, whom many consider to be the greatest player on earth. He has three goals in the competition so far, as partner-in-crime Gonzalo Higuain has four goals, second-most among all players.
Paraguay has scored only four goals, tied for fewest in qualifying play this year. Cristian Riveros leads the side with two goals.
Everything starts with Messi, of course, but the defense has also allowed only four goals through five matches, best in the tournament.
The Argentinians have been dominant on both sides of the ball. The 4-1 victory over Chile on October 7 saw Higuain score a hat trick and Argentina edge closer to the leaders of the group (Chile has 12 points, 4-0-2).
The Argentinians' style of play is predicated on ball control and possession, suffocating opponents with their dribbling and passing.
Paraguay appears to be going backward.
In the side's last two matches, it has been outscored, 5-1, including a 3-1 thrashing at the hands of Bolivia.
The 3-1 defeat included an own goal by Adalberto Roman, and the side didn't score until the 82nd minute, when the match was already out of reach.
While Argentina's game is based on possession play, Paraguay's is quite the opposite. The side generally aims to win with its counter attack, finding spots to catch the opponent off guard.
In that respect, the defense is crucial. That's why giving up nine goals through five games simply won't cut it.
Prediction: Argentina 3, Paraguay 1
It may be giving Paraguay the benefit of the doubt by simply giving the side one goal this match. Argentina should strike early with a combination of Messi and Higuain, disrupting Paraguay's game plan and forcing the side to go on the offensive. This, of course, will simply open up more opportunities for Argentina.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!