Spain 0 - Paraguay 0
Michel Salgado, García Calvo, Juanito, Raúl Bravo (Capdevila
46'); Baraja (Xavi 46'), Albelda; Mendieta (Joaquín 46'), Capi, Vicente
(Guti 46'); Morientes (Diego Tristán 46'). 4-2-3-1.
From our international correspondents Borja Pantzov and Goran Arsic.
Well we finally make it to Logroño, capital of the La Rioja wine growing region. Goran was finally persuaded to dump the rotting cheese from his boot (see Northern Ireland report) when it started to eat through the bodywork of his car, and with a few stops en route we arrive here a day or so early to take in some of the local bodegas. Needless to say I haven't seen Goran in 24 hours, and hope he returns in time for the game.
There was some doubt in the local press as to why this fixture is taking place, with the team needing practise against top European sides right now and not what is considered a second level South American outfit. However Paraguay were in the World Cup, and although Chilvert was too overweight to get on the plane they still have some impressive names in their line up, including Deportivo's Toro Acuña.
Paraguay are not however a spectacular side, and anyone who turns up to watch goals is probably in for a disappointment. Iñaki Sáez decides anyway to use the game to try out some new players, and Contreras gets his first cap in goal with another new boy Capdevila due to come on at half time. Raúl has had to return home with a groin strain, but even with Tamudo also out, the manager decides that he can make do with Morientes and Tristán, who will play a half each. No point we suppose picking strikers for this game, we are never going to score anyway.
And so it proves, as the game wears painfully on. Chilavert's replacement Tavarelli claims he is just as mad as his predecessor, but he doesn't get much of a chance to prove it with ex Atlético Madrid veteran defenders Gamarra and Ayala in fine form in front of him. Spain's only real chance is a long free kick from Vicente which bounces past everyone on to the post, and the keeper manages to gather the ball before Juanito can follow up.
Sáez makes five changes at the break, with the captain's armband passing from Mendieta to Salgado, the players with most caps in this young side. But Paraguay's defensive wall remains intact, and only a header against the bar in the final minutes from Diego Tristán causes any excitement for the bored fans. A bit of a waste of time all round.
As we are making our way out of the ground my mobile phone rings. It is the local police station, who tell me that would I like to put up bail for a certain Goran Arsic and a man from the Guinness book of records who were arrested after causing a disturbance in one of the local vineyards which wanted to close. Apparently they only needed one more bottle to set a new world record. I tell them I never heard of him in my life and hang up. Better he sleeps it off in a cell. Logroño, Paraguay; who's bright idea was this then?