Paraguay confirm Oscar Cardozo's exclusion from Copa America squad

Having been left out of the original 31-man group, coach Gerardo Martino has stuck to his guns by omitting the Benfica striker, whose international form had been patchy
Paraguay coach Gerardo Martino has shut the door on the international career of Benfica striker Oscar Cardozo, whose omission from the Copa America squad has been confirmed with the naming of the final 23-man group.

Cardozo was left out of the initial 31-man preliminary squad due to his long-standing poor form for the national team and many have still to forgive the attacker for his penalty miss in the 2010 World Cup quarter-final defeat to Spain.

Lucas Barrios, fresh from lifting the Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund, is included but there is no place for Toulouse forward Federico Santander, who had been expected to be the main beneficiary from Cardozo's absence.

Further well-known faces include Sunderland's Cristian Riveros in the middle of the park, injury-prone hitman Roque Santa Cruz and the hard-working Nelson Haedo Valdez.

Paraguay have been drawn in Group B of the Copa America, which takes place in Argentina. They will take on Brazil, Ecuador and Venezuela and are looking to lift the trophy for the first time since 1979.

Final Copa America squad:

Goalkeepers: Justo Villar (Valladolid), Diego Barreto (Cerro Porteno), Roberto Fernandez (Racing).

Defenders: Paulo Da Silva (Zaragoza), Antolin Alcaraz (Wigan Athletic), Darío Veron (Pumas UNAM), Aureliano Torres (San Lorenzo), Marcos Caceres (Racing, Argentina), Ivan Piris (Cerro Porteno), Elvis Marecos (Guarani).

Midfielders: Cristian Riveros (Sunderland), Edgar Barreto (Atalanta, Enrique Vera (LDQ), Víctor Caceres (Libertad), Nestor Ortigoza (San Lorenzo), Jonathan Santana (Kayserispor), Hernan Perez (Villarreal).

Attackers: Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn Rovers), Nelson Haedo Valdez (Hercules), Lucas Barrios (Borussia Dortmund), Osvaldo Martínez (Monterrey), Marcelo Estigarribia (Newell’s,), Pablo Zeballos (Olimpia).

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