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Martino: Another successful Argentine abroad

Martino: Another successful Argentine abroad

Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino was asked after World Cup qualification to list his favorite memory of the campaign.
"The 1-0 win over Argentina which sealed qualification," the 47-year-old Argentine wrote about the victory in September 2009.
Martino, like Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa, is an Argentine enjoying success away from his native country. Both have more solid coaching credentials than Argentina's own coach, Diego Maradona.
A modest midfielder who started with Newell's Old Boys, Martino took over the Paraguay national team in 2007 after winning Paraguayan league titles with Libertad and Cerro Porteno. He's built up a reputation as a coach who can unearth talent, which is needed in Paraguay where the population is only about 7 million.
He's come up with a half dozen players who are likely to be key starters or substitutes during the World Cup: defender Antolin Alcaraz, midfielders Enrique Vera, Eduardo Ledesma and Nestor Ortigoza, and forwards Edgar Benitez and Osvaldo Martinez.
Martino has used a solid defense and the goalkeeping of Justo Villar to keep Paraguay in every match. The consistent problem has been generating attack, which could be even more difficult after the near-fatal shooting in a Mexico City bar of the club's top striker, Salvador Cabanas.
Cabanas survived the shooting, but it seems unlikely he will play in South Africa. But even his presence on the bench could be inspirational.
The team's other top forward, Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz, is also in doubt. He missed all of Paraguay's key 2009 World Cup qualifying matches with recurring knee problems but has recently returned to action.
At the World Cup in South Africa, Paraguay will face defending champion Italy, Slovakia and New Zealand in Group F.


Updated : 2021-07-25 18:03 GMT+08:00