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France vs. Paraguay

SITE: Lens

TIME: 7:30 a.m. TV: Chs. 7, 34 RADIO: KWKW (1330, Spanish)

* ABOUT FRANCE: The tournament hosts play their second consecutive match without playmaker Zinedine Zidane, serving the last leg of a two-game red card suspension. The French weathered his absence in a 2-1 victory over Denmark to close out Group C play undefeated at 3-0, although they needed a penalty kick to find a way to beat Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel. Today they face another of the world’s top keepers in Jose Luis Chilavert, who has yielded one goal in three games.

* ABOUT PARAGUAY: Chilavert, extrovert extraordinaire, is in fine form, lambasting FIFA’s selection of a referee from the United Arab Emirates to “take charge of such an important match, and one that involves the host nation.” Chilavert also predicts a victory over France, which, should it happen, would qualify as the stunner of the tournament. “The press have continually ignored us,” Chilavert says, “but we have beaten Nigeria, we have eliminated Spain and now we are going to beat France.”

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* OUTLOOK: Jose Luis Namath? Not here, not now. France advances to set up a titanic quarterfinal with Italy.


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