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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 23, 2006

Santa Cruz hopeful on facing England

ASUNCION, May 23 (Reuters) - Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz is confident of facing England in his side's opening World Cup match on June 10 despite suffering tendinitis to his right knee.

The Bayern Munich striker missed most of the Bundesliga season after undergoing an operation on the knee.

'I was afraid it could have been a lot worse and so the diagnosis is something of a relief,' he said in a radio interview from Austria, where Paraguay have been holding a training camp.

'The main thing is to make sure I'm ready for the first game at the World Cup.'

Team doctor Oswaldo Pangrazio said: 'We're going to do some physiotherapy which will last six days. From then, he will begin jogging and it will take up to nine days before he starts working with the ball.'

Paraguay face Norway in a friendly in Oslo on Wednesday when they will also be missing defenders Julio Cesar Caceres and Denis Caniza and midfielder Carlos Paredes.

Caceres, who plays for Argentine club River Plate, has been plagued by a nagging ankle injury for several weeks.

'The ankle is a delicate matter but we have enough time for a recovery,' he said. 'I feel fine.'

Paredes, who plays for Italy's Reggina, also has an ankle problem while Mexican-based Denis Caniza has a minor muscle complaint.

Paraguay are also teamed with Trinidad & Tobago and Sweden in Group B at the World Cup, which begins on June 9.