Tiny band of Paraguyans who plan a big, big party

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The Independent Online

Some 80 of those live in London and will gather in the Costa Dorada bar just off Tottenham Court Road to watch the match. They may be a footballing minnow, but hopes are high.

"Paraguay are the underdogs, I think we are getting ready for a big upset," said Alberto Pereira, 45, who came to the UK 15 years ago to work as butler for his country's ambassador.

"We have a very dangerous striker, Roque Santa Cruz. We will have to be careful because you have a better team than in the previous two World Cups, but I think we can produce something special."

Paraguay, sandwiched between the footballing giants of Brazil and Argentina, has a population of less than six million.

Mr Pereira said he was fortunate enough to have a ticket for the match in Frankfurt and flew out yesterday. "Not many Paraguayans can afford a trip to Germany. That is just a dream for them. The economic situation there is tricky. It makes it difficult for people over there - or here - to consider taking a trip. It's not like for England fans where they have the cash.

"We are a football-mad people. If we beat you, both in London and across Paraguay there will be the party of all parties."