Previewing the Copa America candidates – Analysing group A: Special Feature (Part 4)
After previewing the likes of Costa Rica, Colombia and Argentina in the first three parts of this Copa America featured series; it is now time to shed some light on the last remaining team of group A and their chances in this tough group of making it to the knockout stages of the competition...
Dark horses of Group A, Bolivia are ranked 102nd in the FIFA official rankings. This fact is more than enough to bring down all the expectations that might be associated with Bolivia in the Copa America. Members of group A where giants such as Colombia and Argentina are lurking, Bolivia will need a miracle to progress past the group stages. If they do, they will be hailed as heroes but for now all they can do is hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Bolivia won the 1963 South American championships before the tournament was turned into “Copa America”. However the South American minnows have seldom experienced success on the international stage since then. They have always been overshadowed by the likes of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina on their continent. Bolivia did finish as runners up in 1997 in Copa America. La Verde didn’t qualify for the FIFA 2010 World Cup but they will be gunning to prove themselves on the international stage when they take the field in Copa America.
Carlos Arias and Sergio Galarza are the two main shot stoppers in Bolivia’s squad. However the more experienced Arias is expected to be the first choice pick in Argentina. Bolivia will need some heroics at the back if they want to maintain a respectable score line against the likes of Colombia and Argentina in Group A.
Ronald Raldes will be the main man for Bolivia at the back. The South American minnows will bank on his experience to guide them through their opening encounter against Lionel Messi’s Argentina. Lorgio Alvarez and Miguel Hoyos will most probably line up alongside Ronald in defence and this experienced duo will only add steel to a pretty weak back line for Bolivia.
Ronald Garcia and Joselito Vaca are the two main playmakers in Bolivia’s midfield. The South American nation will depend on Vaca to be the creative influence whilst Garcia will be given the defensive responsibilities. Both the midfielders have been regularly playing together for Bolivia; therefore their partnership is a formidable one. On the bench, Jhasmany Campos has the ability to unlock any defence in the competition with his final pass but the young midfielder is not a starter for the Bolivian national team as of yet due to his young age and the experience that Ronald Garcia and Joselito Vaca bring to the team.
Marcelo Moreno will take up the goal scoring responsibilities for Bolivia in the Copa America. Moreno plays for Shakhtar Donetsk at the moment but his rise to fame was assisted by his wonderful performance for Cruzeiro in 2008 in the Copa Libertadores final. The Bolivian striker did not feature prominently in Shakhtar’s UEFA Champions League campaign but he was a pivotal part of their domestic campaign. If Bolivia want to go through to the knock out stages, they will need to bank on Marcelo’s goal scoring exploits.
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