Two-time champions Paraguay will be aiming to end 41 years of heartache in the Copa America when they get their campaign underway in Brazil against perennial strugglers Bolivia, who have only made it out of the group stages once in the last eight editions of the South American competition.
Los Guaranies famously reached the final in 2011, losing to eventual champions Uruguay, while they reached the quarter-finals in Brazil 2019, so they enter the Copa America with pedigree and a history of reaching the latter stages, but before any talk of the knockout rounds, first up is a testing tie vs Bolivia.
Fresh from a World Cup-qualifying win over Venezuela and a solid 1-1 draw with Chile, Bolivia enter Copa America in good form, but successive group-stage exits in this competition paints a worrying picture for head coach Cesar Farias, who will no doubt harbour aspirations of replicating the nation’s 1963 triumph.
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Paraguay vs Bolivia: Match Stats
The New Year has not been kind to Eduardo Berizzo, former head coach of Sevilla and Athletic Bilbao, and now manager of Paraguay, whose side fired consecutive blanks in this month’s World Cup qualifiers, losing 2-0 to Brazil and drawing 0-0 with Uruguay. Those results have left the nation languishing precariously outside the qualification places for Qatar 2022. Bolivia meanwhile are riding the crest of an ephemeral wave, entering this competition unbeaten in their two World Cup qualifiers earlier this month.
Paraguay vs Bolivia: Corner Stats
The days of Roque Santa Cruz towering above all and sundry and uncorking a bullet header are over, but that doesn’t mean the nation still don’t enjoy a good ‘ol set piece. Paraguay have managed 28 corners since autumn’s international break, averaging out at nearly five per game, while they outgunned Brazil (seven to five) in this month’s 2-0 loss and, as far as pertinent stats go, they produced a similar outcome against Bolivia (seven to three) in November’s 2-2 World Cup-qualifying draw.
Paraguay vs Bolivia: Cards Stats
Regarding the referee’s notebook, Paraguay have been a little bit naughty in South America’s World Cup qualifiers since early-October, collecting 17 yellow cards, which averages out to nearly three per game. Bolivia have embarked on a similar quest of on-field skulduggery, registering 20 in that same timeframe.
18 Nov 2020 – Paraguay 2-2 Bolivia – World Cup qualifying
15 Nov 2016 – Bolivia 1-0 Paraguay – World Cup qualifying
18 Nov 2018 – Paraguay 2-1 Bolivia – World Cup qualifying
07 Sep 2013 – Paraguay 4-0 Bolivia – World Cup qualifying
09 Jun 2012 – Bolivia 3-1 Paraguay – World Cup qualifying
Incredibly, these nations have only met twice in the Copa America across the last 33 years, and in truth, the neutral is not complaining, as both those contests ended 0-0 stalemates (1999 and 1987). However, in more recent showdowns for World Cup qualification goals have thankfully not been scant, and that pattern of play could very well spill over to this month’s feast of football.