Preview: Bolivia vs. Paraguay

Preview: Bolivia vs. Paraguay

Bolivia and Paraguay square off on Thursday evening with both nations needing to improve on their total of just two wins in World Cup qualifying.

While the sixth-placed visitors currently hold a three-point advantage over their next opponents, Bolivia will move back into contention with victory in La Paz.

Having avoided defeat during their opening five fixtures, Eduardo Berizzo would have been confident of sitting in the top five at this stage of the qualifying campaign.

However, despite the credible goalless draw at home to Argentina earlier this month, Paraguay have now prevailed in just one of their nine fixtures.

To a large degree, they can count themselves fortunate to remain just four points adrift of third position, but Berizzo will be the first to acknowledge that widespread improvements need to be made.

On the back of holding Argentina, Paraguay succumbed to a 2-0 defeat in Chile, a result which has brought their most recent opponents back into the mix.

More alarmingly for Berizzo, his side have netted just three times in seven outings, their last strike coming almost five halves of football ago versus Venezuela.

While Bolivia have spent a large chunk of this campaign sitting at the bottom of the standings, there is an argument that they have the momentum ahead of Thursday’s game.

Having shipped 10 goals in just three outings, Bolivia responded with a much-needed 1-0 triumph over Peru at the weekend, the decisive strike coming eight minutes from time through Ramiro Vaca.

Remarkably, Cesar Farias’s side kept their first clean sheet of qualifying in that match, and there will now be renewed optimism ahead of Thursday’s encounter.

The reverse fixture between these two sides in November ended 2-2, Paraguay netting an equaliser 18 minutes from time after Bolivia had initially rallied from behind.

Bolivia World Cup Qualifying – South America form:
Bolivia form (all competitions):
Paraguay World Cup Qualifying – South America form:
Paraguay form (all competitions):

We say: Bolivia 1-2 Paraguay
Based on their most recent results, Bolivia will head into the contest feeling the more confident. Nevertheless Paraguay are a better all-round team, and we expect the visitors to have enough quality at both ends of the pitch to earn a narrow win

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