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Copa America: Day 7


Have you heard the one about three Peruvians and a Uruguayan? 

Peru V Bolivia (KO. 11.35pm)

Group A dishes out it’s final round of fixtures tonight with all 4 teams still in the hunt to qualify for the qurter finals. Peru, who impressed in their first game before going down to the hosts 2 – 0, face a Bolivian side that have proved many critics wrong by still being alive at this stage. Peru are on 3 points along with Urugauy and Venezuela while Bolivia have one. The Peruvians are optimistic and will be aiming to prove that the opening game against Uruguay was no fluke. It may be easier said than done, however, as star man, Claudio Pizzaro is reported to be struggling with a thigh strain. Coach, Julio Cesar Uribe, will not be getting carried away and has his sights set firmly on what is needed. “We are calm and confident that we will qualify to the next phase. There’s no need to attack 30 times in order to win. The peruvians know when and how to attack”, said Uribe at a press conference yesterday. Pizzaro is their only doubt ahead of tonight’s fixture but there is a strong chance they will risk him.

Bolivia are desperate to get the points tonight and push themselves towards the quarter finals. A spirited 2-2 draw with Venezuela was brushed aside by a dispiriting loss to Uruguay. The coach with the best name in football, Erwin ‘Platini’ Sanchez, (you have to wonder how he got it…) expressed his desire to succeed and this may translate to his players. “Against Peru we want a different result [to the one against Urugauy, he means a win presumably otherwise they’re snookered] so we can achieve our dream of qualification” he said. Stirring words indeed. The strike partnership of Moreno and Arce has only yielded 2 goals so far but it is likely to remain in place this evening. Other worries are midfielder, Garcia, who has picked up a knee injury. Tonight is a massive game for Bolivia who might just be able to snatch a result.

Prediction: Peru 1 – 2 Bolivia

Probable lineups:

Peru: Leao Butrón – Alberto Rodríguez, Santiago Acasiete, Miguel Villalta, Walter Vilchez – John Galliquio, Juan Carlos Bazalar, Juan Carlos Mariño, Jefferson Farfán – Paolo Guerrero and Claudio Pizarro. 

Bolivia: Sergio Galarza – Lorgio Alvarez, Juan Manuel Peña, Ronald Raldes, Miguel Hoyos – Leonel Reyes, Gualberto Mojica, Sacha Lima, Joselito Vaca – Juan Carlos Arce, Jaime Moreno.

 Venezuela earning a draw against Bolivia earlier in the group.

Venezuela V Uruguay (KO. 1.50am)

Venezuela have proved more critics wrong than Bolivia having put themselves into a position where a point tonight is enough to guarantee passage to the quarter finals. A draw against Bolivia and a 2 goal win over Peru set the stage for tonight’s dramatic showdown for the hosts but mere qualification is not enough. Venezuela want to make history and want to win the group outright tonight with a result against Uruguay. Venezuela were predicted by many (not least thefc100) to be picked apart and fed to various domestic and wild animals during this tournament but they have confounded everyone. Now they have the chance to win Group A and send themselves into the quarters with a solid base. Worryingly for Brazil and Argentina, Venezuela expect to win! Coach, Richard Paez said “I have a group who is convinced that when they enter the field they do so to win.” Venezuela are expected to make few, if any, changes tonight to the team that “expected to win” against Peru. 

Uruguay, however, shouldn’t expect to win after the performances they have delivered so far in the competition. A 3 nil defeat to Peru and a tame 1 goal victory over Bolivia didn’t do much to improve the mood in the Uruguayan camp. Coach, Washington, has his sights set on a third place qualifying spot with such ridiculous logic that thefc100 hopes that they go crashing out like Damon Hill. He said “The team that scores the most points will deserve to advance and if we finish in third spot then we will deserve to qualify”. Clown. It’s the only word to describe him. Washington is also unlikely to change a “winning” side while his reluctance to give Alvaro Recoba a run out is puzzling. A striker of his calibre would be able to really test the Venezuelan back four but reports are that he will be starting on the bench again. This one is really difficult to call. Venezuela are probably not as good a side as Urugauy but confidence and home advantage might just take them past a downhearted Uruguay team who are not firing on all cylinders.

Prediction: Venezuela 1 – 1 Uruguay  

Probable lineups:

Venezuela: Renny Vega – Héctor González, José Manuel Rey, Alejandro Cichero, Andrés Rouga – Luis Vera, Miguel Mea Vitali, César González – Juan ARango – Giancarlo Maldonado and Fernando de Ornelas. 

Uruguay: Fabián Carini – Carlos Diogo, Diego Lugano, Andrés Scotti, Darío Rodríguez – Maximiliano Pereira, Diego Pérez, Pablo García, Cristian Rodríguez – Diego Forlán and Vicente Sánchez. 


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