Uruguay on brink of national embarrassment; Chile chasing Argentina

Uruguay take on Bolivia as they look to avoid a shock Copa America exit. Chile, meanwhile, are in hot pursuit of Lionel Messi and co.

Bolivia vs Uruguay

When: Thursday, June 24, 22:00 BST

How to watch: BBC Sport

Follow this game live via our score centre

Best Bets

Under 2.5 goals at 6/5

Two goals in the match at 14/5

Edinson Cavani to score first at 14/5

In exactly one month's time, Uruguay will mark the tenth-year anniversary of winning their last major honour - the 2011 Copa America.

It was the nations golden generation which helped to achieve that famous triumph in Argentina. Today, Uruguay are a shadow of their former self. In fact, watching the side in 2021 is a truly sad experience.

Only a few names remain from that once great team - mainly Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Fernando Muslera and Diego Godin.

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But with all these players in their mid-30s, it's clear that the golden generation is quickly approaching the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. In truth, it's obvious that the days of aggressive, unforgiving attacking soccer are long gone.

Instead, Oscar Tabarez has tried to change with the times and implement a more conservative, possession-based, gentle type of soccer.

Luis Suarez at the 2014 World Cup
Luis Suarez at the 2014 World Cup

Has it worked? In short words, no.

The ongoing 2021 Copa America campaign has been an utter shambles for Uruguay.

Suarez and Cavani - two men who enjoyed a stellar season with their clubs - have hardly had a shot on goal throughout this tournament.

Uruguay have only scored one goal from their last five competitive games - a run that leaves them on brink of elimination not only from Copa America but also the World Cup qualifiers.

Coach Oscar Tabarez during a match between Chile and Uruguay
Coach Oscar Tabarez during a match between Chile and Uruguay

This Thursday night, the team have an opportunity to turn things around and build some much-needed confidence when they take on fellow strugglers Bolivia.

Both nations are at the foot of Group B with Uruguay narrowly ahead on one point. With that in mind, its no understatement to say that this is a must-win game for both countries.

Last ten head-to-heads

Bolivia wins: 1

Draws: 2

Uruguay wins: 7

Bolivia goals: 10

Uruguay goals: 25

Covid-hit Bolivia missing key man

Bolivia aren't the only nation to be hit by COIVD-19 in this tournament, but for a team without much strength in depth the situation has certainly hit them hard.

Marcelo Moreno complains during a match between Bolivia and Venezuela
Marcelo Moreno complains during a match between Bolivia and Venezuela

Captain Marcelo Moreno is likely to miss Thursday's encounter after testing positive before the start of the tournament. The Cruzeiro forward is the country's all-time highest goalscorer and its fair to say that Bolivia have struggled without him.

The timing couldn't have come at a worse time as this weak Uruguay side would have undoubtedly been there for the taking if Bolivia had a full-strength side available.

Goalscorer bets

Considering both teams have only managed two goals between them at this tournament, few are expecting a high-scoring encounter.

Nevertheless, Uruguay's individual stars certainly make them the favourites in this contest.

Luis Suarez scored the country's equaliser against Chile last time out and the Atletico Madrid man is priced at 8/13 to score anytime.

Edinson Cavani, however, presents more value for your buck at 14/5 to score first.

Chile vs Paraguay

When: Friday, June 25, 01:00 BST

How to watch: BBC Sport

Follow this game live via our score centre

Best Bets

Half-Time/ Full-Time Chile/Draw at 12/1

Draw and BTTS at 7/2

Ben Brereton to score anytime at 3/1

Chile head coach, Martin Lasarte, set out his tournament priorities in the pre-match press conference - avoid Brazil at all costs!

With the Brazilians on track to winning Group B, it would be the fourth placed side in Group A who would face them in the quarter-finals.

Chile trying to stop Argentina's Lionel Messi
Chile trying to stop Argentina's Lionel Messi

As things stand, Chile are on course to avoid that dreaded fourth-spot having picking up an impressive five points from their first three games.

What's more, a win over Paraguay would see them leapfrog Argentina into top spot.

However, picking up a win over Paraguay is certainly easier said than done. Even Argentina had problems during their slender 1-0 win over Eduardo Berizzo's side on Tuesday. 

Last ten head-to-heads

Chile wins: 6

Draws: 1

Paraguay wins: 3

Chile goals: 15

Paraguay goals: 13

Chile out to restore reputation after haircut drama

A number of Chile's players were reprimanded and fined after breaching COVID-19 regulations.

The protocols were broken after a hairdresser was allowed into the team's bubble ahead of their game with Uruguay.

Arturo Vidal celebrates during a match between Argentina and Chile at the 2021 Copa America
Arturo Vidal celebrates during a match between Argentina and Chile at the 2021 Copa America

Despite the close shave with the authorities, the side picked up a hard-earned 1-1 draw.

The test against Paraguay, however, will be a completely different kettle of fish.

The last two head-to-head encounters both ended in wins for Los Guaranies. In fact, the last meeting saw them claim a comprehensive 3-0 victory. 

Goalscorer bets

Two of Paraguay's three goals in this tournament have been scored by San Lorenzo forward, Angel Romero.

At the price of 14/5, he represents good value in the goalscorer market.

Chile's Ben Brereton celebrates scoring against Bolivia
Chile's Ben Brereton celebrates scoring against Bolivia

From Chile's perspective, it's British born Ben Brereton who has been making all the headlines.

The Blackburn Rovers man has one goal and one assist in the tournament so far. He's currently well priced at 3/1 to score anytime.

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