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England don't scare us, says Santa Cruz


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Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz has warned group rivals England against expecting an easy passage through to the FIFA World Cup? knockout rounds.

The Bayern Munich star has recovered from a cruciate ligament injury that saw him miss most of the Bundesliga season and is likely to line up in attack for the South Americans. And the 24-year-old centre-forward cannot wait to have a crack at rivals England in Group B's opening match on 10 June as the Paraguayans aim to qualify for the last 16 for the third tournament in succession.

Though Sven-Goran Eriksson's team are favourites to top their group, Santa Cruz believes the expectation may weigh heavily on English shoulders. "The group is good for us, there are many that are far worse," Santa Cruz said in an interview earlier this year.

"People get very excited when they see you are drawn against England because they have all these superstars. Maybe some people think we are unlucky to get them in our group. I don't see it that way. What about the teams who are playing Brazil or Germany in their group? Do you think they are saying 'fantastic, at least we didn't get drawn against England'?

"Out of all the top teams we could have had in our group England are probably the best one for us. Before every World Cup there is always a lot of talk about England but they never perform to their expectations."

A tall and rangy centre-forward, Santa Cruz stood out from an early age, finishing several seasons as top scorer during his childhood with Olimpia in Paraguayan capital. He was elevated to the club's senior ranks as a 16-year-old, and he helped them win back-to-back titles in his first two years as a professional in 1998 and 1999, when he was Paraguay's player of the year.

He signed for Bayern in 1999 and has been a fixture at the German champions ever since, although he was struggling to command a regular first-team place when he was injured. The Paraguayan's experience of German football has left him tipping the host nation to emerge as one of the key teams next month's finals, and he rates them as a bigger threat than England.

"For me, Germany are far more dangerous," the Paraguayan said. "Even when they are not in form they can fight to get important results and perform better than is expected."

Santa Cruz has also become a cult figure in Germany, and even had a pop song 'Ich, Roque' recorded in his honour by a rock band. And if things go according to plan in Germany, Santa Cruz will be giving his fans plenty to sing about.

http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/060515/6/6sgc.html

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Santa Cruz is a good player, but he has not really got that much better than he was four years ago. I remember when England beat Paraguay 4-1 in a friendly just before the last World Cup, so I think we have a good chance against them, but I am not taking anything for granted.

I love the war of words between footballers. The best one was that player who said Beckham is a scaredy cat :rofl:!

EDIT: I found it :D!

Paraguay international Delio Toledo has fanned the flames ahead of his side's World Cup date with England in bizarre fashion by branding captain David Beckham a 'chicken.'

Toledo, who is contracted to Real Zaragoza, has launched a remarkable attack on the Real Madrid star, branding him a coward.

Toledo insists he has the measure of Beckham having come up against him in Liga action.

The Three Lions take on the South Americans on June 10 and Toledo is relishing the opportunity to do battle with Sven Goran Eriksson's side and a tussle with Beckham.

"He is a chicken, when you fight for possession against him he jumps out of the way," said Toledo.

"I don't have any problem in playing hard against him to take the ball and not letting him have it easy."

Toledo believes Beckham is integral to England's hopes but believes his threat can be negated.

"They depend on what Beckham does but as he is a chicken we can get a positive result from that match," he continued.

Despite his rebuke of the 31-year-old, Toledo concedes the former Manchester United star is a talented performer.

"Beckham plays very well. He knows how to hit the ball into dangerous areas. I know him well so I know how to play against him in the World Cup," he added.

"I want to play against him so I hope the coach selects me."

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

England will kick ass, and win the bloody world cup you will all see, ive seen this in my dream, we beat argentina in the final after beating brazil in the semi and argentina beating france ;)

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no, he was right - what you said is american non-make-sensery.

Lol.

england / germany ^^ ? :s lol

"Eng-ger-lend" is the what the England supporters chant.

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England will kick ass, and win the bloody world cup you will all see, ive seen this in my dream, we beat argentina in the final after beating brazil in the semi and argentina beating france ;)

good dreams usually remain dreams :p but i'd like to see England win coz its the country i live and i support ;)

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no, he was right - what you said is american non-make-sensery.

Technically you're both right, depending on whether u see England as 1, or as plural; implying the team and its players

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^ Not really, it was only 1-0. Pretty pathetic if you ask me, England should have scored at least 3.

You nailed it (Y)

May I also ask, where the hell was the Paraguayan defense in the first half? :unsure:

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I found it funny that the Univision commentators made a comment 20 minutes into the game which went something like this -

Can someone please alert the Paraguayan defense that the game has started?

Best commentators (Y)

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