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Bolivia celebrates silver anniversary of World Cup appearance

- 17:11 - 19/09/2018
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    La Paz, Sep 19 (EFE).- Bolivia celebrated the 25th anniversary of its appearance at the World Cup in the United States, the Andean nation's lone trip to the global soccer championship, with a friendly featuring former national team players.

    The 1994 World Cup squad marked the anniversary on Tuesday by playing in a friendly against fellow old-timers.

    Members of the World Cup team took the field at Hernando Siles Stadium in La Paz wearing the same green jerseys they donned in the qualifying rounds in 1993.

    Marco Etcheverry, Julio Cesar Baldivieso, Milton Melgar, Carlos Borja, Juan Manuel Peña and Marco Sandy, among other players, went into action under the leadership of Spanish coach Xabier Azkargorta.

    Former national team goalkeeper Carlos Trucco could not attend the reunion due to problems with his flight from Mexico and Erwin Sanchez, the manager of Bolivian league club Blooming, also missed the event.

    The rival team wore red and was led by former players Erwin Romero, Ricardo Fontana and Limberg Gutierrez.

    Before the friendly, there was an emotional salute to the team, the Bolivian national anthem was played and players posed for a group photograph.

    On Wednesday, the former players are scheduled to attend a dinner in the capital featuring a screening of images from 25 years ago and honoring players Ramiro Castillo and Oscar Sanchez, as well as team physician Miguel Zaiduni, who contributed to the World Cup qualifying effort and have died.

    Bolivia's historic campaign to qualify for the World Cup in the United States began on July 18, 1993, when the squad blew out Venezuela 7-1 in Puerto Ordaz and the team booked a spot in the tournament on Sept. 19 win a 1-1 draw with Ecuador in Guayaquil.

    The trip to the 1994 World Cup remains Bolivia's first and only appearance in the tournament.

    The Andean squad had a tremendous run to the World Cup 25 years ago, beating Brazil 2-0 in La Paz on goals by Marco Antonio "El Diablo" Etcheverry and Alvaro Peña, the current coach of Bolivian league champion Wilstermann.

    This was the first time Brazil lost a qualifying match in 58 years.

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