As could be said about Group 3, there was also a relatively clear favourite beforehand in Group 1 of the CONMEBOL section: Uruguay. Neither Bolivia nor Peru were expected to have the capacity to challenge eight times World Cup participants, who had indeed even won the Jules Rimet trophy twice: In the inaugural tournament on home soil in 1930, as well as the famously claimed victory in the Maracanã in 1950, when they had silenced the alledged crowd of around 200,000 people through notching the winning goal. 

Peru was of course another nation with a World Cup pedigree, though there were obviously few players left with experience from such occasions. They had participated three times out of four from 1970 to 1982, but especially in the wake of the horrific aircrash disaster which had struck their highly promising Alianza Lima club side in December 1987, they now looked a relatively bleak side. There appeared to be more promise among the Bolivian ranks, even if they had failed to do much in the recently held Copa América tournament. 

Uruguay had appointed former Peñarol manager Oscar Tabárez in 1988, after he had led his club side to the continental title, defeating América de Cali of Colombia over an eventual three matches. He had succeeded Roberto Fleitas, who again was Omar Borrás’ successor, the man who had led them in the 1986 World Cup, where they had arrived with a reputation of being a niggly outfit, a reputation which they had certainly lived up to. They had won the 1987 edition of Copa América, having qualified directly for the semi-finals stage as holders, and even looked strong in the recently held continental championships, where they had only lost to Brazil in the final match of the second group stage. 

Bolivia were under the tutelage of Argentinian coach Jorge Habegger, an exciting coach who had enjoyed success at domestic level in the country in leading La Paz club Bolívar to successive titles in 1987 and 1988. In the Copa América tournament, they had failed to evoke much passion, even exiting without a single goal to their name over the four group stage games, though at least they had held reigning world champions Argentina to a scoreless draw. There were some exciting up and coming players, but they also had several players the ‘wrong’ side of 30. Could Habegger find the right balance to make them challengers, and could they take advantage of playing their home matches in the high altitude of the capital? 

Peru also had a relatively newly acquired coach in Brazilian playing legend Pepe, or José Macia, as was his birthname. This was his first ever international assignment, even if he had managed for 14 years. ‘Pepe’ had not ignited them in time for the Copa América, where they, like Bolivia, had failed to win a single game, although they had drawn three times, and even managed to hold Brazil to an early 0-0 result. It did look difficult for them with the current crop of players, which did not really contain much above the ordinary. The new boss would have to work magic in order to produce results in this qualification. 


Match 1
20.08.89: Bolivia 2-1 Peru
Estadio Hernando Siles (La Paz)
The opening match in Group 1 ended with a deserved home win, as Bolivia were the better side for the majority of the game. Playing in the La Paz altitude provided the visitors with some challenges which they never really came to terms with, and the hosts had the individuals to put the Peruvians to the sword. Melgar and Romero bossed the midfield, while visiting ‘keeper Purizaga needed to deal with several efforts from distance. He even saved Pérez’ first half penalty, until conceding an equalizer on the stroke of half time from what was Bolivia’s second spot-kick of the afternoon. This after they themselves had snatched an unlikely lead through a fine volley from midfielder del Solar. Ramallo’s excellently taken goal early in the second half secured both points for the hosts, who had introduced teenager Sánchez to some effect for the start of the final 45 minutes. 

Match 2
27.08.89: Peru 0-2 Uruguay
Estadio Nacional (Lima)

Match 3
03.09.1989: Bolivia 2-1 Uruguay
Estadio Hernando Siles (La Paz)

Match 4
10.09.1989: Peru 1-2 Bolivia
Estadio Nacional (Lima)

Match 5
17.09.1989: Uruguay 2-0 Bolivia
Estadio Centenario (Montevideo)

Match 6
24.09.1989: Uruguay 2-0 Peru
Estadio Centenario (Montevideo)

Final table

2Bolivia 4301656




Total number of players used:
Total number of players including unused substitutes:
Ever-presents (360 minutes):
Leading goalscorer:
Yellow/red cards:

Goalscorers (15)

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