England have played Paraguay twice in their World Cup history.
Paraguay begin their World Cup campaign with a tough opening fixture against reigning champions Italy today.
In seven attempts, the furthest La Albirroja have gone in the competition is the Round of 16 (1986, 1998 and 2002) and they will hope to match or better that record as they look to navigate their way out of Group F.
The Three Lions have faced the South Americans in the World Cup on two occasions, first in the knock-out stages at Mexico ’86 – the first-ever match between the two – and then at the Group Stage at Germany ’06.
The first fixture took place at Mexico City’s Aztec Stadium and it was Gary Lineker, who had scored a hat-trick against Poland in the previous match, who was on hand to continue his scoring streak, bagging a brace as England went on to win 3-0 in front of 98,000 fans.
The Everton forward was clearly a marked man from the start and at one point was stretchered off after a stray Paraguayan elbow had caught him in the throat, but it didn’t stop him from opening the scoring. After just missing Glenn Hoddle’s chip across goal, Steve Hodge instantly sent the ball back into the box and Lineker was in the right place to turn it past Fernandez.
Paraguay employed some rough-house tactics after the break, but refusing to be intimidated, England went on to notch two more goals.
Fernandez couldn’t hold a firm Terry Butcher drive and Peter Beardsley followed up to make it 2-0. Then Gary Stevens of Spurs, on for the limping Peter Reid, crossed for Lineker to sweep in a third.
The second meeting, 20 years later in Frankfurt, was a closer fought affair, although England did get off to the perfect start. Joe Cole won a free-kick wide on the left after just three minutes and David Beckham’s curling ball skimmed off Gamarra’s head and past Villar for an og.
Despite some good chances for England to extend their lead, that was the way it stayed, giving the Three Lions a winning start to their campaign in Germany.