PASADENA, Calif. -- The possible absence of James Rodriguez for Colombia for Tuesday's Group A Copa America Centenario game is an advantage that Paraguay want to maximize.
Eager for a victory that could keep their options to advance to the next round intact, the Guaraníes know that the absence of Colombia’s big star for Tuesday’s game (10:30 pm ET, FS1, UniMás, UDN) can offer them some advantage on the field.
"For Colombia it is a sensitive absence, he is one of the best players in the world, we know the value he has for his team," said Paraguay head coach Ramon Diaz at Monday’s press conference at Rose Bowl.
"It is a shame that he is injured, we wanted him to be at the game, but they have a lot of good players that I’m sure will be ready to take on that spot."
For Diaz, the key of the game for the Paraguayans will be to control the rhythm and the possession of the ball, something that characterizes the game of Los Cafeteros as well.
"I would like our team to take away the ball from them because it is the strongest part of their game. They have been under the same coach for many years, I know him, he is a hard worker, so we have to propose a tough game.”
After a scoreless draw in the opening match against Costa Rica, Paraguay are seeking to win the game against Colombia first and foremost, as a draw or defeat would greatly undermine their chances of advancing to the next round.
Despite skepticism that surrounds Diaz’s campaign with the Guaraníes – in 18 games played, Paraguay have only won three under him -- the Argentine coach is convinced his team can get very far in this tournament.
"In last year’s Copa America, we entered the tournament as one of the worst teams and we reached a semifinal," Diaz said.
"So I believe very much in this group, these players…I like the attitude they have, these young people are growing, so for us it is an important game."