Copa America 2011, Colombia Vs. Bolivia: Preview

Before the start of the 2011 Copa America, most would have penciled in a win on the schedule for Colombia in this match against Bolivia. They're still favorites, but if we've learned anything from this tournament so far, it's that anything can happen. All of Brazil, Uruguay and hosts Argentina, considered by most to be the three best teams in the region in some order, have struggled. In their six games played, those teams have precisely zero wins. So, long story short, nothing is a given for Colombia.

They aren't a deep team, but their stars are getting the job done. Colombia's talented back line has lived up to their reputation so far, while Radamel Falcao has played extremely well, even if he hasn't scored. He's worked his socks off up top for his team in both games, and his work rate helps them to get results when they're not playing their best.

One player that has produced tangible results so far is Fredy Guarin, who might end up being this tournament's breakout player. Against Argentina, the country who produced two of the best central playmakers of the 2000s in Juan Roman Riquelme and Juan Sebastian Veron, Guarin was far and away the most creative and best passer of the central midfielders on the pitch for both teams. He set up Adrian Ramos's goal against Costa Rica, and he was the architect of all of Colombia's best chances against Argentina.

To advance to the quarterfinal, Colombia merely have to avoid losing by two or more goals. If they win the game, they win the group. But is that necessarily a good result for the Colombians? They would currently face one of Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Despite the early results of those teams, they would all be favored over Colombia in the quarterfinals. For Bolivia, a win gives them a chance of advancing, and a win by two goals or more guarantees passage into the quarterfinals.

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