Just two more to go now, and first up is Bolivia – the last side in Group A along with Mexico, Ecuador and host Chile. Another side that are difficult to get a grasp on, as a 5-0 defeat by Argentina was preceeded by a 3-2 win over Venezuela and a 2-2 draw with Chile themselves. They are a side that have not won outside of La Paz since 1993, with the altitude playing a big part there. Here is how their squad looks:
Goalkeepers: Jose Penarrieta (Oriente Petrolero), Romel Quinonez (Bolivar), Hugo Suarez (Blooming)
Defenders: Marvin Bejarano (Oriente Petrolero), Cristian Coimbra (Blooming), Ronald Eguino (Bolivar), Miguel Hurtado (Blooming), Leonel Morales (Blooming), Ronald Raldes (Oriente Petrolero), Edemir Rodriguez (Bolivar), Edward Zenteno (Wilstermann)
Midfielders: Danny Bejarano (Oriente Petrolero), Jhasmani Campos (Bolivar), Alejandro Chumacero (The Strongest), Pablo Escobar (The Strongest), Sebastian Gamarra (AC Milan), Damian Lizio (O’Higgins), Damir Miranda (Bolivar), Martin Smedberg (IFK Goteborg), Walter Veizaga (The Strongest)
Forwards: Marcelo Martins Moreno (Changchun Yatai), Ricardo Pedriel (Mersin Idmanyurdu), Alcides Pena (Oriente Petrolero)
Coach: Mauricio Soria
Likely Lineup (4-2-3-1): Quinonez, Rodriguez, Eguino, Zenteno, Morales, Gamarra, Bejarano, Smedberg, Escobar, Lizio, Moreno
Here is a quote from their coach: “I want to give attacking football, with ball possession, I want my team to try to get to the opposite goal and not defend as much as it has done in the past, because we have lost too much. You have to try to attack if you want to win.”
Soria has only been in charge for a few months, and bar those two decent results above has just had poor losses. He believes he can turn around the fortunes of the nation who struggle anywhere but at home – and has a task on his hands.
What to Expect?
A struggle – with Chile, Mexico and Ecuador, they have three tough fixtures that is likely to see less than a point returned. Moreno is their high-profile player, with 12 goals in nearly 50 caps. Bar him, there are few you would know of – only Sebastian Gamarra (AC Milan) the one anyone may have heard of. They are a hard working side, who often lack any luck – and I’m expecting the same this time. Should be one of the four sides to exit at the first stage.
Nowt – can’t really find any value unless its to finish bottom of the table, if you can find it. Not a side worth backing, but one worth backing the opposition. BTTS games could be good, as they can score goals – 2 vs Chile a prime example
Early exit, heading back to La Paz after the 3 group games. Unless there is a miracle, it’s the obvious thing that will happen. They should entertain, with the coach going for that style of football – so it could be a high-scoring ride for Bolivia, but at the wrong end.