26 Aug 2009

Star Manchester City striker to miss Paraguay World Cup qualifiers

8:18 am on 26 August 2009

Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz will miss Paraguay's football World Cup qualifiers next month because he has not yet recovered from the knee surgery he had in April.

Santa Cruz was not included in Gerardo Martino's 25-man squad for the home matches against Bolivia on September the fifth and Argentina four days later.

Martino will be looking for an improvement in his team after a slump in form saw them to drop from top to third in the South American group after not winning any of their four qualifiers so far this year.

Paraguay are looking to reach their fourth World Cup in a row, and Martino says it's important to beat the weaker Bolivians before facing Diego Maradona's Argentina.

Paraguay have 24 points with four matches remaining, three points less than leaders Brazil and two behind Chile, Argentina are fourth with 22 points and Bolivia ninth with 12.

The top four teams qualify for next year's finals in South Africa.