One of the more undistinguished teams in the CONMEBOL zone, the Bolivians likely harboured few hopes of getting to Italia’90. They had not participated in the World Cup since 1950 in Brazil, and hardly been close to qualifying since. The most recent edition of the Copa America had also corroborated the impression that Bolivia were heading nowhere, as they had finished last in their group of 5 teams, without scoring a single goal, and also had endured an embarrassing 5-0 defeat to Chile.

The Copa America had been the baptism of fire for new head coach Jorge Habegger. Habegger, an Argentinian, had been appointed head coach on the strength of leading club side Bolívar to successive league championships in 1988 and 1989, but quickly experienced the gap between domestic and international success. He would hope to build on the relations already established in the Bolívar side (including key players Borja and Melgar) to mount a bid for Italia’90 in their group against Uruguay and Peru. Read more . . . 


Qualifier 1: Bolivia 2-1 Peru
20.08.1989, Estadio Hernando Siles (La Paz)
Goals: Melgar (pen), Ramallo
Line-up (4-4-2): Galarza – Borja (c), Fontana, Martínez, Pérez – Soria, Melgar, Romero, Takeo (Sánchez h-t) – Ramallo, Peña (Roca 68)
A much-improved performance on the recent Copa América campaign saw Bolivia pick up the richly deserved two points tally for the win. They bossed the game courtesy of their strength in midfield, where additions Soria and Romero, with the assistance of Melgar and second half substitute Sánchez, gave stand-out performances. They seemed to switch to 4-5-1 for the start of the second half, with Peña coming into a wide left role. Ramallo, alone up front after the break, notched the winner in fine fashion.

Qualifier 2: Bolivia 2-1 Uruguay
03.09.1989, Estadio Hernando Siles (La Paz)
Goals: Domínguez (own goal), Peña
Line-up (3-6-1): Galarzo – Ferrufino, Fontana, Martínez – Peña (Sánchez 63), Borja (c), Melgar, Soria, Romero, Pérez – Ramallo
Habegger had left the attacking Takeo out (of the squad altogether), with big defender Ferrufino coming into the starting eleven, and at the same time made sure to bolster the midfield in a formation which could well be described as 3-6-1. Peña and Romero lent lone striker Ramallo support, while both wide players, Borja and Pérez, kept bombing down the flanks in a tireless performance by an experienced home side against the group favourites. The win was thoroughly deserved, and it leaves the remaining fixtures highly interesting. 

Qualifier 3: Peru 1-2 Bolivia
10.09.1989, Estadio Nacional (Lima)

Qualifier 4: Uruguay 2-0 Bolivia
17.09.1989, Estadio Centenario (Montevideo)


Final position: 2 (out of 3)
Total record: 4 3 0 1 6-5 6
Home record: 2 2 0 0 4-2 4
Away record: 2 1 0 1 2-3 2

Player statistics

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

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PlayerPer (h)Uru (h)Per (a)Uru (a)AppsMins
Takeo 45

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