Embarrassing Sunday night for Miguel Almiron and friends
It was all set up for Miguel Almiron to face Newcastle teammate Salomon Rondon on Friday.
Rondon and Venezuela ensured qualification for the last eight of the Copa America when beating Bolivia 3-1 on Saturday.
A win on Sunday against Colombia would guarantee a second place in Group B for Paraguay, leaving Argentina to miss out on the top two.
Already qualified with two wins, Colombia looked to have made it straightforward for Almiron’s team by playing their reserve side, making 10 changes ahead of their quarter-final on Friday.
However, Miguel Almiron and teammates struggled to create chances and a 31st minute goal from Cuellar won it for Colombia. It could have been even worse because only VAR prevented a second for Colombia after the break, a harsh handball decision when the ball brushed an arm.
It had been a very good tournament on a personal level for Miguel Almiron as he had played a part in all three goals scored by Paraguay, including two assists. However, they could be left to rue the opening game when they were two up against Qatar and let them come back for a 2-2 draw. Argentina having taken advantage last night with a 2-0 win over Qatar that sees them face Salomon Rondon and Venezuela on Friday.
Paraguay still stand a chance of a place in the last eight as one of the best performing third place group finishers but only a draw between Equador and Japan would deliver that.
A dismal record overall for Paraguay as remarkably a pre-tournament warm-up 2-0 win over Guatemala on 9 June 2019, is their only victory since a 2-1 win over Colombia in October 2017.
As for Miguel Almiron, he made his senior international debut back in 2015 but is still waiting for that first goal for his country.
If Japan and Equador do draw later today, Paraguay will play tournament hosts Brazil on Thursday in the quarter-finals.
A silver lining for Newcastle fans of course in that an early knockout for Paraguay should mean an earlier participation in Newcastle’s pre-season preparations.
The NUFC squad are due back in 10 days time (4 July) and it remains to be seen how long Miguel Almiron will need in terms of recovery time after the Copa America, before joining the rest of the Newcastle squad.
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