2015 Copa America Preview: Bolivia Look To Surprise And Suppress Doubters

Bolivia is widely viewed as one of the worst teams in the CONMEBOL region – and for good reason. With a local league that doesn’t have a lot of talent – or economical resources – most teams are very poor and they usually find themselves at the bottom of the standings in the international competitions. Unsurprisingly, the NT has the same luck but this Copa America will be the perfect chance to show the side managed by Mauricio Soria has grown ever since the Argentinean took control of the team.

Bolivia is likely to field a 4-2-3-1 and they’re expected to employ a defensive strategy. Considering they will have to go against the likes of Chile, Ecuador and Mexico (even though they will have an alternative side they’re still a threatening team) their chances of getting positive results are quite slim.

The goalkeeper will be Romel Quiñonez who’s a decent shot stopper but doesn’t have a lot of size or agility. In front of him, Soria is expected to use a four-man defensive line where the stand out performer will be Ronald Raldes, a veteran defender who has had his ups and downs over the last few years but that remains the team’s more experienced and better center-back.

The midfield will have five players, presumably with two central midfielder and three creative ones. The central roles are likely to be used by Alejandro Chumacero and Alejandro Malean and the three playmakers are expected to be wingers Damian Lizio and Jhasmany Campos and trequartista Pablo Escobar. Two wild-cards here can be Martin Smedberg – who plays for IFK Goteborg in the Swedish’ Allsvenskan and has been quite steady this season – and youngster Sebastian Gamarra who’s owned by Serie A giants AC Milan but that hasn’t played a single minute of professional soccer in his career.

The biggest star of the team is also their lone forward: Marcelo Moreno Martins. After making a name for himself in the Brazilian league and Ukranian powerhouse Shakhtar Donetsk, Martins currently plays for Chinese side Chanchung Yatai where he’s a regular starter week in and week out.

Bolivia isn’t expected to have a lot of chances to make it into the final rounds of the tournament and considering the difficulty of their group, a sole win would be a moral victory while getting into the quarter-finals would be quite an accomplishment.

Official 23-man Roster:

GK: Romel Quiñónez (Bolívar), Hugo Suárez (Blooming), José Peñarrieta (Oriente Petrolero)

Defenders: Miguel Hurtado (Blooming), Marvin Bejarano (Oriente Petrolero), Leonel Morales (Blooming), Edemir Rodríguez (Bolívar), Ronald Eguino (Bolivar), Edward Zenteno (Jorge Wilstermann), Cristián Coimbra (Blooming), Ronald Raldes (Oriente Petrolero) 

Midfielders: Alejandro Chumacero (The Strongest), Damir Miranda (Bolívar), Danny Bejarano (Oriente Petrolero), Walter Veizaga (The Strongest), Sebastián Gamarra (Milán), Damián Lizio (O'Higgins) Pablo Escobar (The Strongest), Jhasmany Campos (Bolívar), Martín Sdemberg Dalence (Gotemborg). 

Forwards: Alcides Peña (Oriente Petrolero), Ricardo Pedriel (Mersin), Marcelo Martins (Chanchung Yatai).