FC Girondins de Bordeaux
Football Club des Girondins de Bordeaux is a French professional football club based in the city of Bordeaux. The club play in Ligue 1, the first division of French football; the team is coached by Paulo Sousa and captained by Benoît Costil. Bordeaux was founded in 1 October 1881 as a multi-sports club and is one of the most successful football clubs in France; the club has won six Ligue 1 titles, the joint fourth-most in its history. Bordeaux have won four Coupe de France titles, three Coupe de la Ligue titles, three Trophée des champions titles as well. Bordeaux reached the Uefa Cup final in 1996; the club has the honour of having appeared in the most finals in the Coupe de la Ligue, having featured in six of those contested. From a year to its inception, the club's stadium was the Stade Chaban-Delmas, though since 2015, Bordeaux's home ground has been the Matmut Atlantique; the club took its name Girondins from a group of French Revolutionaries from the region, was founded on 1 October 1881 as a gymnastics and shooting club.
The club, chaired by André Chavois added sports such as rowing and swimming, among others. It was not until 1910 when football was introduced to the club following strong urging from several members within the club, most notably club president Raymond Brard, though it was only available on a trial basis; the experiment with football lasted only a year before returning a decade in 1919. The club contested its first official match in 1920 defeating Section Burdigalienne 12–0. Bordeaux achieved professional status in football on 2 July 1936 due to the club's merger with fellow Bordelais outfit Girondins Guyenne Sport, which resulted in the club that exists today. Bordeaux's rise to professionalism came about alongside the French Football Federation's plea to increase professionalism in French football, which prior to 1932, had been non-existent; the club was inserted into the second division of French football and made its debut appearance during the 1937–38 season. The club's first manager was Spaniard Benito Díaz.
Diaz brought fellow Spanish players Santiago Urtizberea and Jaime Mancisidor to the team with the latter serving as captain. The club's most prominent Frenchmen on the team were homegrown attacker Henri Arnaudeau and goalkeeper André Gérard. Bordeaux played its first official match on 23 May 1937 defeating Rhône-Alpes-based FC Scionzier 2–1 at the Stade de Colombes; the club's first league match was contested on 22 August losing away to Toulouse 3–2. Bordeaux recorded. For the club, the team finished 6th in the Southern region of the division. Bordeaux's disappointing finish inserted the club into the relegation playoff portion of the league where the team finished a respectable 3rd. A year Bordeaux moved into a new home, the Stade Chaban-Delmas, known as Parc Lescure; the facility was built for the 1938 FIFA World Cup and, following the competition's completion, was designated to Bordeaux. The club had played its home matches at the Stade Galin, which today is used as a training ground. On 15 October 1940, Bordeaux merged with local club AS Port and took on one of the club's most prestigious traditions, the scapular.
Bordeaux ASP, which the club was now known, adorned the scapular during its run to the 1941 edition of the Coupe de France final. The match, played in occupied France at the Stade Municipal in Saint-Ouen, saw Bordeaux defeat SC Fives 2–0 with Urtizberea netting both goals; the Coupe de France triumph was the club's first major honour. Following the liberation of France, Bordeaux returned to league play and earned promotion to the first division following its 2nd-place finish during the 1948–49 season. After the season, André Gérard, now manager of the club, signed Dutchman Bertus de Harder. Led by the three-headed monster of De Harder, Édouard Kargu, Camille Libar, Bordeaux captured its first-ever league championship, in just the club's first season in the first division, winning by six points over second place Lille; the league success led to Bordeaux being selected to participate in the second edition of the Latin Cup. In the competition, Bordeaux reached the final drawing 3–3 with Portuguese outfit Benfica.
The draw forced a second match with Benfica claiming victory following an extra time goal after over two hours and 25 minutes of play. Bordeaux maintained its title-winning aspirations finishing runners-up to Nice two seasons after winning its first title; the club performed well in cup competitions reaching the Coupe de France final in 1952 and 1955. In 1952, Bordeaux suffered defeat to the team it finished runner-up to the same year, following a thrilling match in which eight goals were scored with five of them coming in the first 40 minutes. Bordeaux drew the match at 3–3 following a 55th-minute goal from Henri Baillot, but Nice countered minutes with two goals in a span of four minutes to go up 5–3, the final result. In 1955, Bordeaux were trounced 5 -- 2 by Lille; the resulting struggles in the cup competitions led to struggles domestically with the club suffering relegation in the 1955–56 season. The club returned to the first division for the 1959–60 season, but failed to make an impact falling back to Ligue 2 after finishing last in the standings with 21 points.
Bordeaux returned to its former selves in the 1960s under new manager and former player Salvador Artigas. Under the helm of Artigas, Bordeaux returned to the first division and finished in a respectable fourth place for the 1962–63 season; the following season, Bordeaux returned to the Coupe
FIFA eligibility rules
As the governing body of association football, FIFA is responsible for maintaining and implementing the rules that determine whether an association football player is eligible to represent a particular country in recognised international competitions and friendly matches. In the 20th century, FIFA allowed a player to represent any national team, as long as the player held citizenship of that country. In 2004, in reaction to the growing trend towards naturalisation of foreign players in some countries, FIFA implemented a significant new ruling that requires a player to demonstrate a "clear connection" to any country they wish to represent. FIFA has used its authority to overturn results of competitive international matches that feature ineligible players. FIFA's eligibility rules demand that in men's competitions, only men are eligible to play, that in women's competitions, only women are eligible to play, it was possible for players to play for different national teams. For example, Alfredo Di Stéfano played for Spain.
Di Stefano's Real Madrid teammate Ferenc Puskás played for Spain after amassing 85 caps for Hungary earlier in his career. A third high-profile instance of a player switching international football nationalities is Jose Altafini, who played for Brazil in the 1958 FIFA World Cup and for Italy in the subsequent 1962 FIFA World Cup. Other 20th-century examples of players representing two or three separate countries are: Joe Gaetjens – László Kubala – Raimundo Orsi – Luis Monti – Michel Platini – José Santamaría – Alberto Spencer – This does not include the hundreds of players whose teams were affected by changes to geopolitical borders e.g. East Germany/Germany, Soviet Union/Ukraine, Yugoslavia/Croatia. Furthermore, some international players have played for another FIFA-recognised country in unofficial international matches, i.e. fixtures not recognised by FIFA as full internationals. This category includes Daniel Brailovsky who played for Uruguay youth teams, was featured in camps for Argentina and years officially represented Israel.
These caps are not recognised due to a dispute between FIFA and the Colombian Football Federation at the time. In January 2004, a new ruling came into effect that permitted a player to represent one country at youth international level and another at senior international level, provided that the player applied before their 21st birthday; the first player to do so was Antar Yahia, who played for the France under-18s before representing Algeria in qualifiers for the 2004 Olympic Games. More recent examples include Sone Aluko, who has caps for the England under-19s and Nigeria, Andrew Driver, a former England under-21 representative, committed to the Scotland national team. In March 2004, FIFA amended its wider policy on international eligibility; this was reported to be in response to a growing trend in some countries, such as Qatar and Togo, to naturalise players born and raised in Brazil that have no apparent ancestral links to their new country of citizenship. An emergency FIFA committee ruling judged that players must be able to demonstrate a "clear connection" to a country that they had not been born in but wished to represent.
This ruling explicitly stated that, in such scenarios, the player must have at least one parent or grandparent, born in that country, or the player must have been resident in that country for at least two years. In November 2007, FIFA President Sepp Blatter told the BBC: "If we don't stop this farce, if we don't take care about the invaders from Brazil towards Europe and Africa in the 2014 or the 2018 World Cup, out of the 32 teams you will have 16 full of Brazilian players."The residency requirement for players lacking birth or ancestral connections with a specific country was extended from two to five years in May 2008 at FIFA's Congress as part of Blatter's efforts to preserve the integrity of competitions involving national teams. The relevant current FIFA statute, Article 7: Acquisition of a new nationality, states: Any player... who assumes a new nationality and who has not played international football shall be eligible to play for the new representative team only if he fulfils one of the following conditions: a) He was born on the territory of the relevant association.
Under the criteria it is possible for a player to have a choice of representing several national teams. It is not uncommon for national team managers and scouts to attempt to persuade players to change their FIFA nationality. Gareth Bale was asked about a possibility to play for England, being of English descent through his grandmother, but opted to represent Wales, his country of birth. In June 2009, FIFA Congress passed a motion that removed the age limit for players who had alre
Defender (association football)
In the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals. There are four types of defenders: centre-back, full-back, wing-back; the centre-back and full-back positions are essential in most modern formations. The sweeper and wing-back roles are more specialised for certain formations. A centre-back defends in the area directly in front of the goal, tries to prevent opposing players centre-forwards, from scoring. Centre-backs accomplish this by blocking shots, intercepting passes, contesting headers and marking forwards to discourage the opposing team from passing to them. With the ball, centre-backs are expected to make long and pinpoint passes to their teammates, or to kick unaimed long balls down the field. For example, a clearance is a long unaimed kick intended to move the ball as far as possible from the defender's goal. Due to the many skills centre-backs are required to possess in the modern game, many successful contemporary central-defensive partnerships have involved pairing a more physical defender with a defender, quicker, more comfortable in possession and capable of playing the ball out from the back.
During normal play, centre-backs are unlikely to score goals. However, when their team takes a corner kick or other set pieces, centre-backs may move forward to the opponents' penalty area. In this case, other defenders or midfielders will temporarily move into the centre-back positions; some centre-backs have been known for their direct free kicks and powerful shots from distance. Brazilian defenders David Luiz and Naldo have been known for using the cannonball free kick method, which relies more on power than placement. In the modern game, most teams employ three centre-backs in front of the goalkeeper; the 4–2–3–1, 4–3–3, 4–4–2 formations all use two centre-backs. There are two main defensive strategies used by centre-backs: the zonal defence, where each centre-back covers a specific area of the pitch; the sweeper is a more versatile centre-back who "sweeps up" the ball if an opponent manages to breach the defensive line. This position is rather more fluid than that of other defenders who man-mark their designated opponents.
Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as libero. Though sweepers may be expected to build counter-attacking moves, as such require better ball control and passing ability than typical centre-backs, their talents are confined to the defensive realm. For example, the catenaccio system of play, used in Italian football in the 1960s, employed a purely defensive sweeper who only "roamed" around the back line; the more modern libero possesses the defensive qualities of the typical libero while being able to expose the opposition during counterattacks. The Fundell-libero has become more popular in recent time with the sweeper transitioning to the most advanced forward in an attack; this variation on the position requires great fitness. While seen in professional football, the position has been extensively used in lower leagues. Modern libero sit behind centre-backs as a sweeper before charging through the team to join in the attack; some sweepers move forward and distribute the ball up-field, while others intercept passes and get the ball off the opposition without needing to hurl themselves into tackles.
If the sweeper does move up the field to distribute the ball, they will need to make a speedy recovery and run back into their position. In modern football, its usage has been restricted, with few clubs in the biggest leagues using the position; the position is most believed to have been pioneered by Franz Beckenbauer, Gaetano Scirea, Elías Figueroa, although they were not the first players to play this position. Earlier proponents included Alexandru Apolzan, Ivano Blason, Velibor Vasović, Ján Popluhár. Other defenders who have been described as sweepers include Bobby Moore, Franco Baresi, Ronald Koeman, Fernando Hierro, Matthias Sammer, Aldair, due to their ball skills and long passing ability. Though it is used in modern football, it remains a respected and demanding position. A recent and successful use of the sweeper was made by Otto Rehhagel, Greece's manager, during UEFA Euro 2004. Rehhagel utilized Traianos Dellas as Greece's sweeper to great success, as Greece became European champions.
Although this position has become obsolete in modern football formations, due to the use of zonal marking and the offside trap, certain players such as Daniele De Rossi:, Leonardo Bonucci, Javi Martínez and David Luiz have played a similar role as a ball-playing central defender in a 3–5–2 or 3–4–3 formation. Some goalkeepers, who are comfortable leaving their goalmouth to intercept and clear through balls, who participate more in play, such as René Higuita, Manuel Neuer, Edwin van der Sar, Fabien Barthez, Hugo Lloris, among others, have been referred to as sweep
Ligue 2 known as Domino's Ligue 2 due to sponsorship by Domino's Pizza, is a French professional football league. The league serves as the second division of French football and is one of two divisions making up the Ligue de Football Professionnel, the other being Ligue 1, the country's top football division. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with both Ligue 1 and the third division Championnat National. Seasons run from August with teams playing 38 games each totalling 380 games in the season. Most games are played on Fridays and Mondays, with a few games played during weekday and weekend evenings. Play is suspended the last weekend before Christmas for two weeks before returning in the second week of January. Ligue 2 was founded a year after the creation of the first division in 1933 under the name Division 2 and has served as the second division of French football since; the name lasted until 2002 before switching to its current name. Since the league is a part of the LFP, it allows clubs who are on the brink of professionalism to become so.
However, if a club suffers relegation to the Championnat National, its professional status can be revoked temporarily until they return to Ligue 2. The second division of French football was established in 1933, one year after the creation of the all-professional first division; the inaugural season of the competition consisted of the six clubs who were relegated following the 1932–33 National season, as well as many of the clubs who opposed the creation of the first division the previous season. Clubs such as Strasbourg, RC Roubaix, Amiens SC all played in the second division's debut season despite having prior grievances with the subjective criteria needed to become professional and play in the first division; the first year of the second division consisted of twenty-three clubs and were divided into two groups. Fourteen of the clubs were inserted into the Nord section, while the remaining nine were placed in Sud. Following the season, the winner of each group faced each other to determine which club would earn promotion.
On 20 May 1934, the winner of the Nord group, Red Star Saint-Ouen, faced Olympique Alès, the winner of the Sud group. Red Star were crowned the league's inaugural champions following a 3–2 victory. Despite losing, Alès was promoted to the first division and they were followed by Strasbourg and Mulhouse, who each won a pool championship, after the first division agreed to expand its teams to 16. Due to several clubs merging, folding, or losing their professional status, the federation turned the second division into a 16-team league and adopted the single-table method for the 1934–35 season. Due to the unpredictable nature of French football clubs, the following season, the league increased to 19 clubs and, two years increased its allotment to 25 teams with the clubs being divided into four groups; because of World War II, football was suspended by the French government and the Ligue de Football Professionnel. Following the end of the war, the second division developed stability. Due to the increase in amateur clubs, the league intertwined professional and amateur clubs and allowed the latter to become professional if they met certain benchmarks.
In 2002, the league changed its name from Division 2 to Ligue 2. In November 2014, the presidents of Caen and Nîmes were amongst several arrested on suspicion of match fixing; the arrests followed a 1–1 draw between Caen and Nîmes in May 2014, a result beneficial for each club. There are 20 clubs in Ligue 2. During the course of a season from August to May, each club plays the others twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for a total of 38 games. Teams receive one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. Teams are ranked by total points goal difference, goals scored. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned champion and promoted to Ligue 1. If points are equal, the goal difference and goals scored determine the winner. If still equal, teams are deemed to occupy the same position. If there is a tie for the championship or for relegation, a play-off match at a neutral venue decides rank; the second and third-place finisher are promoted to the first division, while the three lowest placed teams are relegated to the Championnat National and the top three teams from National are promoted in their place.
While a decision was made that during the season 2015-2016 only the best two teams would be promoted to Ligue 1 and the last two teams would be relegated to the National, that decision was overturned by an appeal to the Conseil d'État and the French Football Federation. 11 minutes: the time it took Sebastian Ribas to score the fastest hat trick in the history of Ligue 2. 5 times: the number of times Le Havre AC won the second division championship. Number of points won by a team in a single season, without being able to promote to the Ligue 1:77 points or 1.833 points per game for Toulouse FC. 72 points: or 1.71 points per game for Stade Lavallois. 69 points: or 1.82 points per game for Amiens SC.128 goals: The number of goals scored in 40 games by SCO Angers in 40 games. 55 goals: the number of goals scored in a season by Gerard Grizzetti, forward playing for AS Angoulême. 41 seasons: Number of seasons played by the RCFC Besançon and AS Cannes. The fastest goal in the history of Ligue 2 was marked on 26 September 2009 by Remi Nantais Maréval against Nîmes Olympique.
After eight seconds of play, the ball crossed the goal lin
Championnat National 3
The Championnat National 3 referred to as National 3 and known as Championnat de France Amateur 2, is a football league competition. The league serves as the fifth division of the French football league system behind Ligue 1, Ligue 2, Championnat National, the Championnat National 2. Contested by 168 clubs, the Championnat National 3 operates on a system of promotion and relegation with the Championnat National 2 and the regional leagues of the Division d'Honneur, the sixth division of French football. Seasons run from August to May, with teams in twelve groups playing 26 games each totalling 2080 games in the season. Most games are played with a few games played during weekday evenings. Play is suspended the last weekend before Christmas for two weeks before returning in the second week of January; the competition was founded in 1993 as National 3 and lasted for five years before being converted to Championnat de France Amateur 2 in 1998. In 2017 the FFF reorganised amateur football and the restructured 5th level again became Championnat National 3.
Most clubs that participate in the league are amateur clubs, but a small number of clubs are semi-professional. The matches in the league attract on average between 400 spectators per match. However, this average is dragged down by the minuscule turnouts; the amateur championship of France was created in 1993 under the name National 3. The league's debut coincided with the creation of the Championnat National, the third division of French football, known as National. For the first three years of the competition, an amateur champion was crowned in France regardless of whether the club was amateur or a reserve team. In 1998 the competition was renamed Championnat de France Amateur 2 as part of a restructuring of Amateur football. In this guise, the competition saw 112 clubs participate, split into eight parallel groups of 14 with their group affiliation being based on the regional location of the club; the league became open to reserve teams in France and amateur clubs in France and both were eligible for promotion to the Championnat de France Amateur.
In 2017 the FFF reorganised amateur football along the lines of the 2016 reorganisation of the Regions of France, creating Championnat National 2 and Championnat National 3 to replace CFA and CFA2. For National 2 this was in effect just a change of name, whilst National 3 saw a major restructure; this new competition sees 168 clubs participating, in twelve parallel groups directly aligned to the thirteen new regions. The administration of the league is devolved to the regional leagues on a group by group basis, with the exception of the"Méditerranee-Corse group, directly managed by the FFF. During the course of a season from August to May, each club plays the others in their respective group twice, once at their home stadium and once at that of their opponents, for a total of 26 games. Teams are ranked by total points. Ties between clubs with equal points are resolved by: a) points gained in games between the two clubs, b) goal difference in games between the two clubs, c) overall goal difference, d) goals scored, e) best disciplinary record, f) drawing of lots.
At the end of each season, the winner of each group is promoted to Championnat National 2. If a group winner is prevented from being promoted, or elects not to be promoted, they are replaced by the next best team in the group who are eligible. At least the bottom three teams in each group are relegated to the Regional league's top division. In the case of groups which start a season with more than 14 teams, extra relegation places will ensure the league conforms to 14 teams for the following season. Extra relegation places will be added depending on which regional groups the teams relegated from Championnat National 2 will enter the following season. Official FFF site
Coupe de France
The Coupe de France known as the Coupe Charles Simon, is the premier knockout cup competition in French football organized by the French Football Federation. It was first held in 1917 and is open to all amateur and professional football clubs in France, including clubs based in the overseas departments and territories. Between 1917 and 1919, the competition was called the Coupe Charles Simon, in tribute of Charles Simon, a French sportsman and the founder of the French Interfederal Committee, who died in 1915 while serving in World War I; the final is played at the Stade de France and the winner qualifies for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League and a place in the Trophée des Champions match. A concurrent women's tournament is held, the Coupe de France Féminine. Combined with random draws and one-off matches, the Coupe de France can be difficult for the bigger clubs to win; the competition is beneficial to the amateur clubs as it forces higher-ranked clubs professional clubs, to play as the away team when drawn against lower-league opposition if they are competing two levels below them.
Despite the advantages, only two amateur clubs have reached the final since professionalism was introduced in French football in 1932: Calais RUFC in 2000 and Les Herbiers VF in 2018. Two clubs from outside Ligue 1 have won the competition, Le Havre in 1959 and Guingamp in 2009; the reigning champions are Paris Saint-Germain who defeated Les Herbiers VF in the final of the 2017–18 competition. 8,506 clubs competed in the 2017-18 edition. The Coupe de France was created on 15 January 1917 by the French Interfederal Committee, an early predecessor of the French Football Federation; the idea was pushed by the federation's general secretary Henri Delaunay and under union sacrée, the competition was declared open to all clubs and professional, though professionalism in French football at the time was non-existent. The major clubs in France objected to the notion. However, the federation declared the competition would remain as is. Due to the minimal requirements to enter, the first competition featured 48 clubs.
By 1948, the number had increased to 1,000 and at present, the competition features more than 7,000 clubs. Due to the initial increase in clubs, the federation created preliminary rounds beginning with the 1919–20 season; the following season, they added a second preliminary round. As of today, the competition contains eight regional rounds with some regions containing as much as ten; the first Coupe de France victors were Olympique de Pantin who defeated FC Lyon 3–0 at the Stade de la Légion Saint-Michel in Paris in front of 2,000 spectators. The following year, the competition was shifted to the Parc des Princes and drew 10,000 supporters to the final that saw CASG Paris defeat Olympique de Paris 3–2; the competition alternated between many stadiums during its early years playing at the Stade Pershing from 1920–1924 before switching to the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in Colombes. The competition lasted a decade there before returning to the Parc des Princes in 1938. In 1941, the final was held at the Stade de Paris.
The following year, the final returned to Colombes and remained there until moving to the Parc des Princes permanently following its renovation, which made it the largest in terms of attendance in France. There are vastly more amateur than professional clubs in France, the competition produces surprises; the best performance by an amateur club in the competition is awarded the Petit Poucet Plaque. One of the competition's biggest upsets occurred in February 1957 when Algerian club SCU El Biar defeated Stade de Reims who had players such as Robert Jonquet, Michel Hidalgo, Léon Glovacki, Just Fontaine. One of the more recent successes of an amateur club occurred during the 1999–2000 competition when Championnat de France amateur club Calais RUFC reached the final. Calais, composed of doctors, dock workers, office clerks, started the competition in the 5th round and, after defeating fellow amateurs, beat clubs Lille, Langon-Castets, Cannes and Bordeaux to advance to the final. Calais' road to the final was a prime example of the major advantages amateur clubs had with the club playing all of its matches at home beginning with the Round of 64 match.
In the final the club lost to Nantes 2–1 despite scoring first. Professional clubs have continued to express their displeasure with the advantages amateur clubs receive in the competition with many of their complaints being directly associated with their hosting of matches. Coupe de France rules explicitly state that teams drawn first during the draw are granted hosting duties for the round, however, if the club drawn second is competing two levels below the club drawn first the hosting duties will be given to the second club drawn. Many clubs have subsequently complained that, due to the amateur clubs not having adequate funds, the stadiums they play in are unkempt; the resulting differences led to the clubs represented by the Ligue de Football Professionnel forming their own cup competition, the Coupe de la Ligue. More amateur clubs have begun to move to more established stadiums for their Coupe de France matches with their primary reason being to earn more money at the gate due to more established stadiums having the ability to carry more spectators.
The winner of the Coupe de France trophy holds on to the trophy for one year to put in on display at their headquarters before returning it to the French Football Federation. In the early 1980s, the cup was retrieved by the authorities quickly. Since 1927, the President of France has always attended the cup final and
Paraguay the Republic of Paraguay, is a country of South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, Bolivia to the northwest. Although it is one of the only two landlocked countries in South America, the country has coasts and ports on the Paraguay and Paraná rivers that give exit to the Atlantic Ocean through the Paraná-Paraguay Waterway. Due to its central location in South America, it is sometimes referred to as Corazón de Sudamérica. Spanish conquistadores arrived in 1524 after navigating northwards from the Río de la Plata to the Paraná River, up the Paraguay River. In 1537, they established the city of Asunción, the first capital of the Governorate of Paraguay and Río de la Plata. Paraguay was the epicenter of the Jesuit Missions, where the Guaraní people were educated and introduced to Christianity and European culture under the direction of the Society of Jesus in Jesuit reductions during the 17th century. However, after the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spanish territories in 1767, Paraguay became a peripheral colony, with few urban centers and settlers.
Following independence from Spain at the beginning of the 19th century, Paraguay was ruled by a series of authoritarian governments who implemented nationalist and protectionist policies. This period ended with the disastrous Paraguayan War, during which Paraguay lost at least 50% of its prewar population and around 25–33% of its territory to the Triple Alliance of Argentina and Uruguay. In the 20th century, Paraguay faced another major international conflict – the Chaco War – against Bolivia, from which the Paraguayans emerged victorious. Afterwards, the country entered a period of military dictatorships, ending with the 35 year regime of Alfredo Stroessner that lasted until he was toppled in 1989 by an internal military coup; this marked the beginning of the "democratic era" of Paraguay. With around 7 million inhabitants, Paraguay is a founding member of Mercosur, an original member of the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Lima Group; the city of Luque, in Asuncion's Metropolitan Area, is the seat of the CONMEBOL.
The Guarani culture is influential and more than 90% of the people speak different forms of the Guarani language on top of Spanish. Paraguayans are known for being a happy and easy-living people and many times the country topped the "world's happiest place" charts because of the "positive experiences" lived and expressed by the population; the indigenous Guaraní had been living in eastern Paraguay for at least a millennium before the arrival of the Spanish. Western Paraguay, the Gran Chaco, was inhabited by nomads of whom the Guaycuru peoples were the most prominent; the Paraguay River was the dividing line between the agricultural Guarani people to the east and the nomadic and semi-nomadic people to the west in the Gran Chaco. The Guarcuru nomads were known for their warrior traditions and were not pacified until the late 19th century; these indigenous tribes belonged to five distinct language families, which were the bases of their major divisions. Differing language speaking groups were competitive over resources and territories.
They were further divided into tribes by speaking languages in branches of these families. Today 17 separate ethnolinguistic groups remain; the first Europeans in the area were Spanish explorers in 1516. The Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar de Espinosa founded the settlement of Asunción on 15 August 1537; the city became the center of a Spanish colonial province of Paraguay. An attempt to create an autonomous Christian Indian nation was undertaken by Jesuit missions and settlements in this part of South America in the eighteenth century, which included portions of Uruguay and Brazil, they developed Jesuit reductions to bring Guarani populations together at Spanish missions and protect them from virtual slavery by Spanish settlers and Portuguese slave raiders, the Bandeirantes. In addition to seeking their conversion to Christianity. Catholicism in Paraguay was influenced by the indigenous peoples; the reducciones flourished in eastern Paraguay for about 150 years, until the expulsion of the Jesuits by the Spanish Crown in 1767.
The ruins of two 18th-century Jesuit Missions of La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná and Jesús de Tavarangue have been designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. In western Paraguay Spanish settlement and Christianity were resisted by the nomadic Guaycuru and other nomads from the 16th century onward. Most of these peoples were absorbed into the mestizo population in the 19th centuries. Paraguay overthrew the local Spanish administration on 14 May 1811. Paraguay's first dictator was José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia who ruled Paraguay from 1814 until his death in 1840, with little outside contact or influence, he intended to create a utopian society based on the French theorist Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Social Contract. Rodríguez de Francia established new laws that reduced the powers of the Catholic church and the cabinet, forbade colonial citizens from marrying one another and allowed them to marry only blacks, mulattoes or natives, in order to break the power of colonial-era elites and to create a mixed-race or mestizo society.
He cut off the rest of South America. Because of Francia's restrictions of freedom, Fulgencio Yegros and several other Independence-era