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Uruguay vs Bolivia: Match Preview, Team News, Predictions and More

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Uruguay vs Bolivia: Match Preview, Team News, Predictions and More.

Uruguay will be keen to make it two wins out of two as they face Bolivia on gameday two of the Copa America 2024

Uruguay will face Bolivia on Thursday at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey as the final match of Group C’s second round of Copa America 2024 action. Uruguay is riding high after a 3-1 victory over Panama in their opening match, while Bolivia continues to struggle after a 2-0 defeat to the USA.

Uruguay secured their opening match win with some late heroics, scoring twice after the 85th minute to claim a third consecutive group stage victory in this tournament. True to Marcelo Bielsa’s aggressive style, La Celeste came out firing, registering 11 shots within the first 20 minutes, four of which were on target.

This victory extended their unbeaten run in Copa America group stage matches to four and marked their third straight win in this phase of the competition. After a slow start to 2024, where they went winless in their first three matches and scored only twice, Uruguay has turned their form around with two consecutive victories by a combined margin of 7-1.

A win on Thursday, combined with a USA win or draw against Panama, would ensure Uruguay’s progression to the knockout stages for the third consecutive Copa America campaign. Uruguay has a strong record when leading at halftime, winning nine consecutive international matches and not losing when in front at the interval since their 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica at the 2014 World Cup.

Bolivia’s start to the tournament has been less encouraging. In their opening match against the USA, they conceded early and were unable to recover, extending their Copa America losing streak to 13 games. Antonio Carlos Zago’s team has developed a habit of conceding early goals, going behind within the first five minutes in their last two matches and allowing five of their last eight goals within the first half-hour.

Bolivia’s Copa America record is bleak, with only one win in their last 31 fixtures at the tournament, a 3-2 victory over Ecuador in June 2015. They have conceded eight goals in their previous three fixtures, after allowing just one in the two matches before that. In three of their last four Copa America matches, Bolivia has failed to score, and they have not found the back of the net in the first half since a 1-0 win over Andorra in March.

A defeat on Thursday, coupled with a USA victory, will eliminate Bolivia from the tournament. Bolivia have not beaten Uruguay in Copa America since 1997, losing five of their last six encounters against La Celeste.

SoccerSouls take a look at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ.

Team News and Predicted XI

Uruguay

There were concerns about centre-back Ronald Araujo’s status after the Uruguayan defender was taken off at half-time for Jose Gimenez in their opener against Panama. However, the Barcelona man reassured fans on Instagram that it was due to dehydration and a drop in blood pressure, and he is now fine. Whether Bielsa will throw caution to the winds or play it safe remains to be seen.

Marcelo Bielsa is expected to maintain his aggressive approach with a focus on early pressure and control. Uruguay’s attacking prowess was on full display against Panama, and they are unlikely to adopt a plan B against Bolivia. With the USA up next, the South Americans will be keen to wrap up their spot in the knockouts as soon as possible.

Uruguay are expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Sergio Rochet in goal. He should be protected by the back four of Nahitan Nández, Ronald Araújo, Mathías Olivera and Matías Viña. The double pivot of Federico Valverde and Manuel Ugarte will in particular be key, bringing pace and power to a key area of the pitch.

Facundo Pellistri and Maximiliano Araújo should provide the width, while veteran Giorgian de Arrascaeta should don the role of the number 10. Darwin Nunez has been sensational under Bielsa’s tutelage and will once again aim to sow chaos in the opposition defence as Uruguay’s focal point of attack.

Predicted Playing XI (4-2-3-1): Rochet; Nandez, R. Araujo, Olivera, Vina; Valverde, Ugarte; Pellistri, de Arrascaeta, M. Araujo; Nunez

Uruguay vs Bolivia: Match Preview, Team News, Predictions and More.

Bolivia

While Bolivia have no injury concerns, several of their players will be walking a suspension tightrope. The trio of Jesus Sagredo, Luis Haquin and Leonel Justiniano all received yellow cards in the opening game against the USA and could miss the clash against Panama should they pick up a booking against Uruguay.

Coming up against Bielsa’s high-intensity system will be a significant challenge and strength in numbers coupled with tactical discipline will be the need of the hour. A 3-1-4-2 formation is certainly a curious one and how well the sweeper can do will determine who comes out on top in the battle for midfield dominance.

Guillermo Viscarra should start in goal behind the centre-back trio of Jesús Sagredo, Luis Haquin and José Sagredo. Leonel Justiniano should reprise his role in front of the front three and will aim to mop up behind the midfield four. But then, coming up against a no-nonsense duo in Valvrde and Ugarte will be no easy feat.

Miguel Terceros should come into the playing XI, partnering Fernando Saucedo in the central area, while Gabriel Villamíl and Diego Medina starting on the flanks. Rodrigo Ramallo should also come into the playing XI alongside Bruno Miranda upfront.

Predicted Playing XI (3-1-4-2): Viscarra; Je. Segredo, Haquin, Jo. Sagredo; Justiniano; Medina, Terceros, Saucedo, Villamil; Ramallo, Miranda

Uruguay vs Bolivia: Match Preview, Team News, Predictions and More.

Where to Watch

English: FOX, FS1, FOX Sports App

Key Stats

  • Uruguay and Bolivia have faced off 47 times across all competitions, with the former winning 32 games. The latter have won eight matches, with the remaining seven ending in draws.
  • Bolivia have kept just three clean sheets in their last 16 games against Uruguay.
  • Bolivia have lost their last 13 Copa America games, with their last win coming all the way back in 2015.
  • Uruguay are unbeaten in their last four Copa America group-stage games.
  • Uruguay have not lost a game they were leading at half-time since the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Match Deciding Duel

Darwin Nunez (Uruguay) vs Luis Harquin (Bolivia)
Uruguay vs Bolivia: Match Preview, Team News, Predictions and More.
Uruguay star Darwin Nunez will be up against Bolivia defender Luis Harquin on the night.

The Liverpool striker has been a different beast when in national colours and is a pivotal player in Bielsa’s system for La Celeste. Nunez scored in the opening game against Panama, handing his side a two-goal lead and breathing space. It is fair to say that he will once again be a thorn in the opposition’s side on Thursday.

Up against him will be Luis Harquin, a player who will be walking the suspension tightrope having picked up a yellow card in Bolivia’s Group Stage opener against the USA. Nunez is used to sowing chaos and will once again be involved in the thick of things going forward. To say Harquin will have his hands full would be an understatement. Who comes out on top will hand his side a massive boost in a key game that could decide both of their fortunes in the competition.

Prediction

Uruguay 2-0 Bolivia

Uruguay’s form and attacking depth make them heavy favourites against a struggling Bolivia side. With their aggressive style and superior talent, La Celeste should secure a comfortable victory and advance to the knockout stages. Bolivia will need to significantly improve their defensive discipline to stand any chance, but Uruguay’s momentum suggests another tough outing for La Verde.