Wednesday, October 19, 2011

CONMEBOL'S WIBD: Crushed into Bolivian!

If you haven't noticed while reading this blog, we are not overly concerned with the legends and the superstars. Lionel Messi gets enough attention when he heads for the gents' lavatory, he doesn't really need more from our minor sphere of the blogoverse. Blood, sweat, tears and ink is spilled by the gallon over the Three Lions, why not take a break by looking into the little glimpsed underdogs of our World Cup?

In that spirit we turn our attention to CONMEBOL, the South American confederation, and it's nascent qualifying campaign. Unlike most other competitions, to march into the game's grandest stage, South American squads have only one round. Play all the other teams in your continent, play them again, top four records go to the Cup (for more details and South American sass, click the Conmebol link at the top of the page, or here).

The open-ended style of the qualification means that the strongest teams rise to the top and shocking upsets have relatively little effect on the overall results. Over 16 matches even the best teams will lose a few and worst teams will win a couple...but what if there was a stunning turn of affairs? What if someone could pull off a stunning, unpredictable, rags-to-riches meteoric triumph?

That would be awesome. Of course, given the strength of South American teams, it would also be pretty hard to fathom. There aren't many scrappy underdog squads...except, of course, for Bolivia.

Marcelo Martins is #1-#100
in Bolivian hearts
Bolivia, the land that futbol forgot. While every other team in South America has several players in premier European leagues (Italy, Spain or England), Bolivia's top player, Marcelo Martins, is freezing his butt off in the Ukraine. It's a little hard to keep up with the Joneses and the Escobarses when you only play against them during World Cup Qualifier Whoopings.

Sure they've made three World Cups and reached #18 in the world less than 15 years ago...but right now (after tanking their first two matches) they are ranked last in South America and #115 in the world. If Bolivia could somehow, someway, beat four other teams in their continental zone it would be like the President of your High School AV Club winning the girl over the Beatles at the height of their power.
This logo goes great with white wine

Heck, Bolivia's federation logo is a chicken holding a ball...other teams have the good sense to limit themselves to their national flag colors. Bolivia must root for a bird that looks desperate for a beheading...

With all of that going against them, it's painfully clear. WE MUST CHEER FOR BOLIVIA!! To hell with the big guns and the dominant squads and the powerful players, let's go Chickens, let's go under-appreciated whelps, let's go BOLIVIA!!

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