Bolivia vs Paraguay
Estadio Hernando Siles
09/06/2012, 16.00 hs (21.00 BST)
Finally, after all the talk, all the hype and all the acclimatising the crunch World Cup Qualifier between Bolivia and Paraguay is upon us. The game has taken on huge significance following the albirroja’s relatively slow start to the campaign and Chiqui Arce will be under fire if Paraguay fail to win having spent one month in La Paz acclimatising. The support of the APF (Paraguayan FA) and the clubs who released their players early will vanish if the Guaraní don’t get the right result.
Arce will set his side up in a 4-4-2 formation hoping to keep possession and frustrate the Bolivians, that is the Chiqui way and while it didn’t work against Peru or Chile in the previous qualifiers away from Asunción the system should have been drummed into the players after a month of training. The team is likely to be domestic-based players with a spine of old warhorses starting in goal with Justo Villar, supported by central defender Paulo Da Silva, central midfielder Cristian Riveros and hard-working striker Nelson Haedo Valdez. Aureliano Torres was recalled and the left back will have a key role to play from set pieces as the ball can often take a deceptive trajectory in the thin La Paz air.
Bolivia are trying to bounce back from the disappointment of the lacklustre display against Chile and are boosted by the return of star striker Marcelo Martins although they lost Juan Carlos Arce to injury. Coach Gustavo Quinteros had previously organised the Andean side very well and they frustrated Argentina last year in Buenos Aires. The problem with the verde is more psychological and has plagued them historically, if they concede the first goal heads will drop and a comeback is unlikely. Paraguay will undoubtedly be looking to score early on to break Bolivia mentally in this battle of the continent’s two landlocked nations.
Paraguay Probable XI: Justo Villar; Ricardo Mazacotte, Adalberto Román, Paulo Da Silva, Aureliano Torres; Eduardo Aranda, Cristian Riveros, Eric Ramos, Osvaldo Martínez; Nelson Haedo, Pablo Zeballos
Prediction: Bolivia were poor against Chile at home and their home advantage has been hugely reduced by the acclimatisation of the away team, Chiqui Arce is aware his job could be riding on this game and his team will come through for him, 0-1
SELECTED ODDS: Bolivia win 2.8, Draw 3.35, Paraguay win 2.74, 0-1 scoreline 8.4, Under 2.5 goals 1.69
BEST BET: Hard to look past the away win at that price
For a more complete set of statistics take a peek at the Bolivia vs Paraguay Stat Attack – here are the head-to-heads taken from there:
Paraguay vs Bolivia Overall
Pld 64 W 32 D 17 L 13 GF 122 GA 62
Paraguay vs Bolivia World Cup Qualifiers
Pld 14 W 8 D 3 L 3 GF 28 GA 13
Paraguay vs Bolivia World Cup Qualifiers in Bolivia
Pld 7 W 1 D 3 L 3 GF 7 GA 10
Paraguay vs Bolivia all competitions in La Paz
Pld 15 W 2 D 6 L 7 – only wins were WCQ in 1974 and friendly in 1977
For full analysis on the squad you can check out my piece here.
By Ralph Hannah
Author’s Note: All odds via Betfair and correct at the time of writing