From: Lleo
Date: 8 November 2001
Subject: [R] Bolivia-Brazil

From La Paz, Bolivia:

Bolivia 3-1 Brasil

As the banner in the stands goes (first thing I saw when I turned on
my TV): "Les quitamos el invicto, ahora les quitaremos al Mundial".


Straight for the goals. First half. Rivaldo receives the ball in the
half-moon and makes a nice pass for Edilson, who sends a missile in
Soria's right angle. Brasil 1-0.

Later on the first half, Juan ridiculously slips and falls, and gifts
Líder Paz a free way to the goal, face-to-face with Marcos. Hard,
direct shot in the lower right corner. 1-1.

In the second half, Brasil ran out of gas and Bolivia started to dance
around us. Albeit the second goal was not from a build-up play, or
anything. Baldivieso takes an unpretentious free kick at the left side
of Brasil's box. He meant a cross, but it goes towards the goal.
Marcos takes an unecessary step forward and jumps. He can't reach it
and the ball goes in. Frango. Frangaço. Bols up 2-1.

Ironically, Marcos made two great saves after his blunder. But the
team continued playing as uselessly as ever. Felipão's substitutions
had no effect, although Juninho did play slightly better that the
rest. Bolivia kept waltzing around us, by the 82nd minute they had
outshot Brasil 33-8. Three minutes to go, again a Bolivian attacker
invades the Brasilian penalty area like a knife through butter, and is
stopped with a foul by Cafú. Blatant penalty, and Baldivieso makes
sure to hammer the nails on Brasil's coffin with a strong kick, in the
middle of the goal. Bolivia 3-1.

And that was it. Maybe our Bolivian friend Vargas will have a more
cheerful description of this game (and correct whatever I may have
gotten wrong up above). Not all is lost to Brasil, not by a long shot,
though. After all, we only need to get against Venezuela a result
similar to what Uruguay will get against Argentina to ensure automatic
qualification. Venezuela is indeed improving, and Brasil is indeed
nosediving, but still I can't envision anything other than a Brasilian
win here, else we simply have no business in Japan/Korea.

And on a brighter note: congratulations to Ecuador, for making it to
the World Cup for the first time. In spite of the lack of resources
for football, they struggled with Brasil, Uruguay and Colombia all the
time, and had their steady campaign threatened when Hernan Dario Gomez
received death threats for leaving out some ex-president's kid. They
overcame all troubles and gifted Alex Aguinaga (should he stay fit,
and may he) his deserved World Cup appearance (IMHO).

And to Paraguay. We all knew they'd make it, but still,
congratulations Paraguay. May they make it to the quarters this time.