Paraguay to face Australia & New Zealand

WELLINGTON - World Cup quarter-finalists Paraguay will play both Australia and New Zealand in friendlies in October, New Zealand Football (NZF) and Football Federation Australia (FFA) said on Friday.

The South Americans, who drew 0-0 with New Zealand in the World Cup in South Africa before advancing to the knockout stages where they lost to eventual champions Spain, play Australia on October 9 in Sydney before meeting the All Whites on October 12.

A venue is still to be confirmed for the New Zealand match, though NZF said they expected to finalise an agreement with a venue within the next 10 days.

Both Australia and New Zealand will use the matches as their official "welcome homes" for their respective teams following the World Cup, which finished in July.

The Socceroos will also use the match as preparation for next January's Asian Cup tournament in Qatar.

New Zealand confounded most pundits' expectations in South Africa by finishing the tournament as the only unbeaten side, although they failed to advance out of their group after three successive draws.

"To have a World Cup quarter-finalist playing in New Zealand so close to the FIFA World Cup is a real coup," NZF chief executive Michael Glading said.

"Bringing a top 20 team has not always been viable in the past but football's stock is rising and this match is a chance to keep that World Cup momentum going."

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