Chilavert Promises “spectacular” Series – Paraguay

Paraguay captain and world-renowned goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert today promised the Australian public a series of matches it will find hard to forget.

Paraguay captain and world-renowned goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert today promised the Australian public a series of matches it will find hard to forget.

“The crowd will certainly witness some spectacular play,” he said.

“They will see a goal keeper that plays attackingly, but that-s not to say there won-t be strength at the back too.”

Chilavert has a reputation both on and off the field as being one of the more flamboyant characters in international soccer. He has been named World-s Best Goalkeeper three times and scored a staggering 59 goals in his career to date, most of which have resulted from his trademark precision free kicks taken from outside the penalty area.

“I can-t wait until the referee blows for a free kick near outside the area so I can show Australia how I take goals,” he said.

“I-m certainly grateful for the six-second rule for goal keepers, forcing us to use our feet more, which is a definite strength of my game. But whatever I have achieved in my career I have had to work for. I have a lot of confidence and self belief, which is essential.”

On the prospect of facing up to Socceroo goal keeper Mark Bosnich he said: “I-ve met him a couple of times and can say that he is one of the best goal keepers in the world. I-m going to have trouble getting a goal past him, that-s for sure.”

Socceroo captain Paul Okon, reacting to Chilavert-s comments, replied: “I have to be honest and say that I have never played with a keeper who takes free kicks, let alone scores them. It-d be nice to see him take one on Friday, although I obviously hope he doesn-t score. In general it seems that the Paraguayans will be showing us a lot of respect, so I-m really looking forward to it.”

Paraguayan coach Sergio Markarian, also present at yesterday-s Sydney press conference, said he had included a number of younger players in his squad in an effort to “weed out” a suitable squad for the World Cup qualifiers.

“With a goal keeper like Chilavert behind them, it-s the perfect situation to try them out. This is a very important season for us. The Australian side also need to qualify for the World Cup along with a South American opponent, and they seem to think their physical strength will help them. They certainly seem to have potential.”

Only six of the players that defeated fellow South Americans Ecuador 3-1 over the weekend have flown over for this three-match series, giving Markarian an important opportunity to see some rising players perform at an international level.

On playing a team ranked almost 70 places higher in the FIFA world rankings, Socceroo coach Frank Farina said he is feeling confident.

“I-ve stated before that the more games we play in the run up to the World Cup qualifiers, the happier I-ll be. Whether the teams are ranked 1st, 17th or 120th makes no difference as long as we-re getting the team together on a regular basis and are prepared for what everybody wants, namely to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 30 years.”

He added that he is satisfied with the fitness of his squad, although a few of the Socceroos have not played a competitive match for 3 or 4 weeks.

Striker Paul Viduka is currently being assessed for fitness, having missed the last 8 games of the season at Celtic, while Mark Bosnich has had a light run and will be undergoing another fitness test on Thursday before Friday-s match.

“We have some genuine world superstars in this side, and despite missing a few players I believe we-re still extremely strong. We-ll definitely rise to the big occasion,” he said.