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The tale of two talismans

By ESPN Staff

Santa Cruz pays tribute to Paraguay supporters

Blackburn Rovers striker Roque Santa Cruz dedicated Paraguay's 2-0 World Cup qualifier victory over Venezuela to the country's fans.

After a good performance in the 1-1 draw against Argentina, Paraguay dominated throughout this game as midfielder Cristian Riveros put Gerardo Martino's side ahead in the 28th minute.

And just before the break Santa Cruz set-up Nelson Haedo Valdez to double the advantage.

With this victory Paraguay are top of the standings with 17 points, five ahead of South American giants Argentina and Brazil and Santa Cruz admitted the fans deserved the win.

'This really is a Paraguayan celebration,' he said. 'The country deserve this and a lot more.

'We were clearly superior and always controlled the match. We played well all over the pitch.'

Striker Nelson Haedo Valdez praised Santa Cruz for his contribution in not only this victory but also every game he plays for Paraguay.

'He not only assisted me today, he also supports me every day,' he said. 'Santa Cruz s not only a great player, but he is an important team-mate for all the squad.'

The Borussia Dortmund forward believes the win was the ideal follow up to Paraguay's 1-1 draw against Argentina three days ago.

'This triumph against Venezuela boosts the job we did against Argentina in getting a draw. We have four more points and continue at the top of the standings.'

The victory also means Paraguay maintain a 100% record at Defensores del Chaco stadium in Asuncion.

'We are very strong at home,' Cruz Azul midfielder Cristian Riveros said. 'Our fans are like another player and the rivals felt that.

'We also play more comfortably in our country and if we maintain our performance level at home we will have a big chance to be in South Africa.'

Paraguay will visit Colombia in the fifth round while Venezuela will host Brazil.


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