Copa America quarter-finals: Peru battle Bolivia in surprising clash
In a surprising Copa America quarter-final clash, two-time winners Peru will do battle with Bolivia, with both nations providing shocks so far in this summer’s tournament in Chile.
Aiming for a stunning semi-final place, both of these former competition champions rallied into the knock-out stages after finishing second in their group, with Peru the favourites to progress at odds-on 4/7 with Coral.
Bayern Munich veteran striker Claudio Pizarro has already struck in this year’s tournament and he is 9/2 to fire the Peruvians to victory in 90 minutes, with plenty of firepower within their ranks which could seriously hurt Bolivia, including the last Copa America’s top scorer Paolo Guerrero.
Experienced forward Jefferson Farfan is likely to return on time for this quarter-final meeting, another huge boost for an already impressive Peru outfit, but Bolivia hold astute attacking talent of their own.
Bolivia boss Mauricio Soria’s most potent forward weapon so far has been the former Sweden youth international Martin Smedberg-Dalence, with the creative midfielder a 4/1 chance to strike at anytime.
Frontman Marcelo Moreno Martins could also prove to be a goal-threat, with the Chinese Super League forward 8/1 to net his second goal of the tournament anytime and Bolivia to triumph in normal time.
Despite Peru being the favourites to secure victory, their manager Gareca has been quick to shrug off such a tag.
“We accept the idea of favouritism, but we have to look at it another way,” he stated. “For the outside perhaps there is favouritism, but not for us.”
Gareca also defended his attacking players, having only scored three times in the group stages, but will be confident against a team who sit 28 places lower in the FIFA rankings.
“Pizarro is a great man and a key player,” he said. “Paolo [Guerrero] is returning to his best and [Jefferson] Farfan is just recovering. The three of them are putting in a lot of effort,” he continued.
Bolivia won the Copa back in 1963, but have failed to progress past this stage since then, and are 7/2 to triumph in normal, with there being no extra-time after normal time, both sides could be set for a thrilling penalty shoot-out if a draw is the outcome after 90 minutes (12/5).