Football

Paraguay striker Santa Cruz believes team spirit is the key

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Roque Santa Cruz believes team spirit lies behind Paraguay's run to the top of Group F which moved them within sight of the last 16.

Santa Cruz helped his side move in sight of the second phase with a 2-0 victory against Slovakia with goals from Enrique Vera and Cristian Riveros either side of half-time.

Santa Cruz believes the bond between the players is key to the team's achievements and he said: "Our strengths are as a team we are very compact. We are all proud to be part of the squad. The atmosphere is fantastic, not just in our games but in training."

He added: "We controlled the game and are happy to have achieved our goal of getting the points.

"We have been playing together for years and we have players who are mentally strong. Our strength is the spirit in the camp, the hard work we put into every game."

The Manchester City striker came up against club team-mate Vladimir Weiss on Sunday and exchanged shirts with the 20-year-old before tipping him for a bright future.

Then the winger's father - the Slovakia coach of the same name - took time out to greet Santa Cruz as he was being interviewed to give him a hug.

Santa Cruz continued: "I know Vladimir very well from our time City. He is a fantastic guy, a great player. I am pleased to see him doing well in his national team."

Santa Cruz, back in the side after a minor injury, called on his team to make history.

"Paraguay have never been in the quarter-finals. That is our goal," he added. "Maybe it is time to change history. We are very proud of our result. It will give us a lot of confidence."

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Topics:
Football
Manchester City
Roque Santa Cruz
World Cup

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