Bolivia's home advantage in La Paz was made plain once again on Sunday as they downed Brazil 2-1 in South American qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Although Brazil coach Dunga fielded a largely second-choice eleven with qualification already secured, Bolivia will celebrate another win over one of South America's powerhouses. Indeed, they may be left wondering how, after beating Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, they have come nowhere close to qualifying for the FIFA World Cup themselves.
Goals from Edgar Olivares and Marcelo Moreno put Bolivia in control before Nilmar struck 20 minutes from time to ensure a more nervy ending. Brazil could find no rhythm at all in the early going, and Bolivia had already threatened before Olivares opened the scoring with an all-too-easy header in the tenth minute, taking advantage of sloppy marking from a corner.
It took until the 20th minute for Brazil to spark into action, but Diego Souza fluffed the chance to mark his senior international debut with a goal as he got his shot all wrong after a lovely ball from Dani Alves. Moments later, Adriano linked up with Nilmar but was just short as he dove to connect with the return cross.
Brazil had the ball in the net in the 26th minute but Maicon's header was ruled out for a foul on the goalkeeper by Luisao. The misses would prove costly as Moreno, born in Bolivia but raised in Brazil, smashed in a free-kick that left Julio Cesar completely flat-footed.
Alves, the Barcelona full-back, was playing in an advanced position for his country, and he came as close as anyone to getting them back into the game with a shot from the edge of the area that cannoned back off the post, with Adriano mis-kicking the rebound wide. The chances continued to come for Bolivia in the second half as Olivares got his head on the end of a free-kick but a deflected sent it inches wide for a corner.
Just a minute later, Cesar came for a corner but lost the ball in the sun and was unlucky to escape punishment. That proved to be a rare flurry of excitement in a largely lethargic second half, but Brazil breathed life back into the game in the 69th minute, breaking out of defence for Maicon to cross and Nilmar to nod home.
Bolivia produced a couple more chances at the other end, but Ronald Rivero headed the best of them just wide after breaking free of his markers from a free-kick. However, they had already done enough to secure the win.