Injured Santa Cruz named in Paraguay squad

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ASUNCION - Striker Roque Santa Cruz has been included in the Paraguay squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers despite being doubtful because of a knee injury. Coach Gerardo Martino said the South American group leaders, who are on course for a fourth successive World Cup appearance, had sent their team doctors to Santa Cruz's club Blackburn Rovers to examine him. "We will keep Roque in the list until we have the medical report," Martino told reporters after announcing the squad. "The chances of him staying in the squad are very small but we want to see the state of his injury." Borussia Dortmund striker Nelson Haedo Valdez and Mexican-based Salvador Cabanas will probably form the attacking partnership if Santa Cruz cannot play. Paraguay have 23 points from 10 games in the South American group, six ahead of second-placed Brazil. They visit Uruguay on March 28 and face Ecuador at high altitude in Quito four days later. Goalkeepers: Justo Villar (Real Valladolid), Aldo Bobadilla (Independiente Medellin), Diego Barreto (Sol de America) Defenders: Dario Veron (Pumas UNAM), Julio Cesar Caceres (Boca Juniors), Julio Cesar Manzur (Libertad), Aureliano Torres (San Lorenzo), Carlos Bonet (Cruz Azul), Pedro Benitez (Tigres UANL), Paulo da Silva (Toluca), Denis Caniza (Olimpia), Miguel Angel Samudio (Libertad) Midfielders: Enrique Vera (America), Edgar Barreto (Reggina), Osvaldo Martinez (Monterrey), Cristian Riveros (Cruz Azul), Jonathan Santana (San Lorenzo), Victor Caceres (Libertad), Sergio Aquino (Libertad), Eduardo Ledesma (Lanus), Marcelo Estigarribia (Le Mans), Rodrigo Burgos (Cerro Porteno). Forwards: Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn Rovers), Nelson Haedo Valdez (Borussia Dortmund), Salvador Cabanas (America, Mexico), Oscar Cardozo (Benfica), Edgar Benitez (Pachuca), Jorge Achucarro (Atlas) (Reporting by Mariel Cristaldo, writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar)