Argentina will be looking to secure first position in Group A when they complete their 2021 Copa America group-stage campaign against Bolivia on Monday night.
La Albiceleste, who are already through to the knockout round, sit one point clear of second-placed Paraguay at the summit, while already-eliminated Bolivia are bottom of the section on zero points.
Bolivia won the Copa America in 1963 and were actually the runners-up in 1997, but they have struggled to make it out of the group stages of the competition in recent years.
Only on one occasion since 1997 have they been present in the knockout round, and La Verde have been eliminated in the group stage of the 2021 tournament with one match to spare.
Cesar Farias‘s side opened their Group A campaign with a 3-1 defeat to Paraguay, before suffering a 1-0 loss to Chile, which put them under a lot of pressure ahead of the clash with Uruguay last time out.
Bolivia certainly had their moments against Oscar Tabarez‘s team but ultimately suffered a 2-0 loss to confirm their spot at the bottom of the section, and they must now take on the strongest side in the group.
The Green have won just seven of their previous 40 matches against Argentina in all competitions, and it is difficult to imagine them upsetting the section leaders on Monday night in Cuiaba.
Argentina, as mentioned, have comfortably qualified for the knockout round of the competition, picking up seven points from their three matches courtesy of two wins and a draw.
La Albiceleste opened their Group A challenge with a 1-1 draw against Chile but have beaten both Uruguay and Paraguay 1-0 in their last two fixtures to breeze into the quarter-finals.
Lionel Scaloni‘s side are not guaranteed first position, though, as Paraguay are just a point behind them in second, meaning that there is a little bit of pressure on them heading into this contest.
Argentina will also not want to lose momentum at this stage of the competition, as they go in search of their first Copa America title since 1993.
The White and Sky Blues have been runners-up in four of the last six tournaments, including in 2016, and will be determined to go one step further this year to lift the trophy next month.
Bolivia Copa America form:
Bolivia form (all competitions):
Argentina Copa America form:
Argentina form (all competitions):
Bolivia were without their captain and all-time leading goalscorer Marcelo Moreno for their first two matches due to coronavirus, but the forward returned off the bench last time out and should start here.
Henry Vaca was also ruled out of the start of the tournament for the same reason, but the 23-year-old is in line to make the first XI here, which will hand the strugglers a boost.
Rodrigo Ramallo is likely to retain his spot in the final third of the field, while Enrique Flores and Erwin Saavedra could feature in the full-back positions for Farias’s side.
As for Argentina, Scaloni has no injury concerns ahead of the contest, but there are expected to be changes from the side that took to the field against Paraguay.
Joaquin Correa, Rodrigo De Paul, Angel Correa and Lautaro Martinez could all come in for starts against Bolivia, with Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria all expected to be named on the bench.
Lisandro Martinez will also be hoping to earn a spot in the first XI, but the likes of Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero and Leandro Paredes should retain their spots in the starting side.
Bolivia possible starting lineup:
Lampe; Saavedra, Quinteros, Jusino, Flores; Arce, H. Vaca, Justiniano, R. Vaca, Ramallo; Moreno
Argentina possible starting lineup:
Emiliano Martinez; Molina, Romero, Lisandro Martinez, Acuna; De Paul, Dominguez, Paredes; A Correa, Lautaro Martinez, J Correa
We say: Bolivia 0-2 Argentina
Argentina are not expected to be at full strength for this match, but it is still difficult to imagine there being an upset here. Bolivia have found it difficult to compete at this summer’s competition, and we believe that Scolari’s team will end their group-stage campaign with a comfortable win.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Sportsmole.co.uk