Facts & figures: Paraguay

Factbox on World Cup qualifiers Paraguay: World Cup record:

Previous appearances in finals: Seven

Best performance: 2nd round in 1986, 1998 and 2002

Coach: Gerardo Martino, a 47-year-old Argentine, former Newell's Old Boys midfielder who took charge in February 2007 after winning Paraguayan league titles with Libertad and Cerro Porteno. Had Paraguay top of the South American qualifying group at the end of 2008 playing a classic 4-4-2. They lost steam this year with three successive defeats but a 1-0 home win over Diego Maradona's Argentina in September carried them through.

Key players:

Salvador Cabanas (America, Mexico). Age: 29. Striker

Forward who likes to be involved in the build-up of attacks, he created the brilliant goal scored by fellow striker Nelson Haedo against Argentina that secured qualification.

Paulo da Silva (Sunderland). Age: 29. Central defender

In the traditional mould of solid Paraguayan defenders, strong in the air, he has graduated to team captain having been part of the 2006 side that failed to get through the group stage.

Justo Villar (Real Valladolid). Age: 32. Goalkeeper

Experienced keeper who will hope to make up for a disappointing 2006 tournament when injury put him out after seven minutes in Paraguay's opening match against England

FIFA world ranking November 2009: 30

How they qualified: Paraguay led the South American group at the end of last year but relinquished that lead with a string of poor results this year before steadying the boat with a 1-0 win over Bolivia before qualifying by beating Argentina in Asuncion by the same score. Disappointed not to win the group following a 2-1 home loss to eliminated Colombia in their last qualifier.

Prospects: A kind draw could see them fulfil their ambition to go where no other Paraguay team has been before and reach the quarter-finals. They have the balance, sufficient skills and good coaching to achieve this.