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World Cup: Paraguay works some magic

June 24, 2010 |  6:30 am

Maybe it’s a South American soccer tradition? How else to explain the long list of unusual and sometimes outrageous demands made to World Cup organizers by the continent’s teams, with Argentina Coach Diego Maradona ordering an expensive remodeling of his bathroom to include $400 toilet seats and Brazil demanding its hotel pool be heated to exactly 90 degrees.

When the Paraguayans arrived earlier this month, they asked for a magician, caramel-flavored ice cream made by an African-based Argentine -– it had to be taste-tested first by the team's managers –- and male-only hotel help around the players’ rooms lest the team lose focus.

Looks like it worked. Heading into its group-play finale with New Zealand on Thursday, Paraguay was unbeaten.

-- Kevin Baxter in Johannesburg, South Africa