When Bolivia qualified to play a World Cup
Bolivia It is not a team used to being in the big world events. In fact, the Bolivian team has only managed to qualify for a final phase of the World Cup. It was in the edition of 1994, held in United States. we remember her.
As we say, even though Bolivia has participated in three World Cups (Uruguay 1930 Y 1950 Y U.S 1994), only in the latter did it manage to qualify on its own merits. The Spanish fans who lived football with passion in those times, We perfectly remember that team dressed in green as they faced the Spanish team led by Javier Clemente.
Xabier Azkargorta, Bolivian idol
A figure was key to achieving that historic classification of the Bolivians that allowed them to face each other with teams such as Spain or Germany: Xabier Azkargorta. The Basque coach became a myth and legend in Bolivia for guiding the South American team to a success that, Today, has not been repeated.
The popularity of Azkargorta in Bolivia it was such, that the then president of the nation, Sanchez de Lozada, offered by the Ministry of Education, Health and Sport, something that the Spanish coach declined.
Since he took the reins of the Bolivian team in 1993, Azkargorta set out to classify his team to play the World US. At first, everyone thought it was crazy about the new technician, but nevertheless, over time, it was seen that it was a real possibility to the point of being fulfilled to the delight of an entire country.
That team was a very compact block in which players such as Marco Etcheverry, Erwin Sánchez, Julius Caesar Baldivieso or William Branch, among others. All of them were able to defeat, nothing more and nothing less, that Brazil for 2-0 in the World Cup qualifying phase in a match played in La Paz.
The debut Bolivia in that historic World US 1994 it was against the reigning champion, Germany. The match was marked by the expulsion of the Bolivian star, Etcheverry, when they had barely disputed 4 minutes of play. Despite the difficulty of the rival and playing the entire game with one less player, the Germans only managed to win by 1-0.
The second match pitted the Bolivians against South Korea. Again, the South Americans suffered an expulsion but, this time, they got a meritorious tie that left them with options for the last group match against Spain.
But nevertheless, the team led by Javier Clemente, got a clear victory for 3-1 that left out Bolivia. Erwin Sánchez He was in charge of scoring the only goal for his team in the World Cup.
The fact that so many years have passed since Bolivia will play his last world, It does nothing but magnify the difficulty and merit of that feat.. We'll see if something like this happens again in the near future..